Five Tips for Helping Birds This Winter
by Rob Ripma
Garden Club Newsletter
With the sinking temperatures near my home in Indiana, it is evident that winter is quickly approaching, and the weather changes this time of year always get me thinking about how I am going to help our feathered friends survive the winter. Here are five tips for helping the birds survive the coming cold months.
1. Provide suet. Suet is a great source of protein for the birds. This will help them stay warm and survive those extremely cold nights. Remember that the larger woodpeckers much prefer a suet feeder with a tail prop!
This Downy Woodpecker is feasting on some suet that will help her stay warm on this cold winter day.
2. Put out a heated birdbath.
Once lakes and streams start to freeze, birds have a difficult time finding water. By offering a heated birdbath for your birds to drink from, you will not only help them survive but will also attract many more birds than you would with feeders alone.
3. Offer peanuts in your feeders.
Peanuts, like suet, are another good source of protein for your birds. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees are just a few of the many species that will frequent a peanut feeder.
4. Use a ground feeder.
There are quite a few species that are not comfortable coming to traditional bird feeders. Most of our native sparrows such as Song, White-throated, and White-crowned, prefer to feed on the ground. By offering seed using a ground feeder, you will ensure that these species have easy access to food even when the ground is covered with snow.
5. Leave your bird houses up.
There are several species that will use bird houses as roosting sites during the winter. Bluebirds do this most commonly. Be sure to clean out the old nesting material and block any of the ventilation holes so they can retain their warmth. If you can, flip the orientation of the front of the house so that the hole is on the bottom.