As the weather gets cooler, don’t forget about welcoming birds in Winter.
If you’ve been attracting birds into your garden all year, you will need to continue to look after them during the Winter months. Birds get used to finding food at your house, and, if the food suddenly dries up at the same time that the natural supply is becoming scarce, the birds may suffer.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain bird feeders during the winter so that you can support those little feathered friends when they most need it.
Remember to cater to the type of bird that regularly frequents your garden.
Some smaller birds don’t need your feeder to have a perch. They can cling onto a mesh feeder. These include Chicadees, Sparrows, Nuthatches and Finches.
Woodpeckers, Flickers and Finches can also hang from feeders
Juncos, Siskin and Doves like to feed on the ground.
Put out the right food:
Clingers tend to like seeds. Hangers like suet and seed. Ground Feeders like seed.
Protect the food and protect the birds:
There are other creatures that also like the same food that the birds feed on – for example, squirrels. And there some birds that like the birds that feed on the seed, such as hawks and falcons. There are some animals that like to feed on the birds as well – cats!
To minimize the risk of stolen food or preyed upon birds, you can use seed that squirrels and other seed eaters don’t like, such as safflower seeds. To minimize ground feeders being attacked by predators is a little more complicated. It’s perhaps best to situate the feeders in areas close to the house or under shelters where larger predators won’t easily spot the feeding birds.
Clean out your bird house:
Clean out your bird house so that it’s ready for this years nesters. Once it’s empty, you can sterilize it using a diluted bleach and water wash. Be sure not to clean a bird house with bare hands – use gloves to avoid picking up any nasty parasites that might be lingering.
Remember the Water:
Birds need to drink in Winter just as much as during Summer. If you already leave water out for them, it’s important to check that it’s not frozen as it gets colder. This might mean replacing the water regularly with warm water, or if you wish, you can buy bird bath heaters to prevent freezing.
Here’s more reading on this topic:
What should you put out to feed birds during the winter?