With very cold temperatures and consistent snow and ice on the ground in winter, many wild birds have difficulty getting food from their natural food sources (insects and seeds). So it’s extremely helpful to feed birds throughout the winter.
How do we humans react to extreme winters? We would probably cover ourselves with layers of winter clothes, get technicians to repair the heating system or check them for any kind of errors (check out this company that specializes in ductless mini split repair in Spokane as an example), stock up the fuel for heating and also stay indoors at all times. Similarly, during winters, birds need high-calorie and high-fat foods to keep up their high metabolic rate. We suggest black-oil sunflower seed (high in fat so gives birds energy), white millet seed (high in protein), and suet cakes (high in fat to produce energy). In the winter you may see flocks of birds or some individual birds coming to your feeders so it’s best to provide a variety of bird food in a variety of feeders.
Bird feeders should be placed out of the wind near a row of trees. Ideally you should hang your feeder near a tree or bush so that the birds can perch and have cover while eating yet can still watch for danger. Hang your bird feeders 10-12 feet from shrubs or brush piles so that the birds have time to react to a predator like a cat. For the ground feeding birds, it’s helpful to pat down the snow below the feeder so they can still gather up the seed that falls from the hanging feeder. You can also use a platform or hopper feeder for these birds and we suggest keeping it near an area of cover with a clear view of the surroundings. And it’s important to keep your feeders full because birds need to stock up on calories for long cold winter nights. Also they become accustomed to your feeders as a reliable food source and will keep returning. If you are on vacation away from your home, ask a neighbor to keep the bird feeders full.
Birds also need a source for water in the winter- they can easily become dehydrated. So you can simply put out a pan of water near the feeder (on warmer days) or use a heated bird bath.
And remember to clean your bird feeder. They can get soiled and dirty easily in winter, especially if more and more birds find your feeders for a food source. Simply clean your feeder with hot water and then dry it. Do this a few time during the winter season.
If you have any questions or need any bid feeding supplies, please visit our Bird & Pet Department.