As much as I am looking forward to 2020 ending, I don’t want to
rush the winter. With so many changes happening over the past year
one thing has remained the same….The birds are still eating!! A lot!!
For me, this season I am seeing birds that I have never seen before at
the house I am living in. This past week alone I have seen a Yellow
Shafted Northern Flicker, a Red Breasted Nuthatch and as of 10-21 I
still have a female Summer Tanager eating daily at my feeder, along
with a family of 5 bluebirds coming daily to the Live Mealworms I
provide. I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild winter for the birds
and I am so looking forward to it.
Winter is a very fragile season for wild birds and not all birds will
survive it. There are some things that birds do to prepare for winter
but they also rely on humans for help during these critical months.
Water is crucial and scarce in the Winter. Dehydration can be a
bigger threat to birds in freezing months than starvation. Birds can
certainly eat snow but that takes more energy for a bird to eat snow
and warm it to body temp than it does for them to drink unfrozen
water. Birds use water for hydration and also to preen their feathers.
If they are not able to preen their feathers then they won’t stay
positioned and aligned and that causes gaps in insulation which makes
them lose heat faster. You can give birds access to water right in your
backyard by putting out a heated bird bath or adding a heater to your
existing bird bath. By doing this you will also attract birds to your
yard that you might otherwise not see such as the Cedar Waxwings,
Bluebirds, Robins and other birds.
Birds have done a great job to survive the freezing months. But
they have also learned to rely on humans for food, water and roosting.
The more we can help the better their chance of survival.
Along with water there are many great seeds and suet you can
feed as well. Here are a few to get you started. I will go more into
detail in next months article. But until then you can go wrong with
the following Suet (pure suet and hot pepper suet keeps raccoons and
squirrels away), Black Oil Sunflower seeds (out of the shell for less
mess), Peanuts ( in the shell and out of the shell), Safflower (attracts
most birds but keeps blackbirds, raccoons and squirrels away)
Stay Safe this winter and Happy Birding from all of us here at For
The Wild Birds located across from Mangelsens off 84th street!!