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Winter 2017
Cover is the natural vegetation where birds can escape from predators, find protection from freezing rain and snow, or roost at night. Evergreens are particularly helpful in winter. Their dense needles provide shelter from the elements.
Food, both natural (berries, nuts and seeds) and feeder offerings (seeds, suet and fruits), provides fat that birds rely on to survive the cold.
Water, in birdbaths, ponds or natural flowing streams, is vital to birds’ survival, particularly in winter, when it’s more difficult to find open water in colder climates.
Discarded Christmas trees make excellent almost- natural cover when they are positioned upright near a bird feeder. Even evergreens in large pots will do the job until they can be planted when the ground thaws.
If temperatures dip below freezing in your area, you can still provide water for birds both for drinking and bathing. Many heated birdbaths and small electrical heaters for existing birdbaths are available.
One style bird feeder doesn’t fit all, so offer a variety if you want to attract the most birds to your backyard.
If a feeder is covered with ice and snow, the birds won’t feed. Brush or knock off ice and snow to allow the birds to get to the food. Keep an extra brush and scraper, like the kind used to clean a car windshield, near birdseed containers.
Suet provides energy from beef fat for those birds whose summer food is primarily insects (woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees and titmice.)
Seed can easily get wet and once it does, it’s sure to clump and clog feeders. If an active feeder suddenly seems deserted, this is the first thing to check. If food is soaked, dump it and replace it with fresh dry food.
Peanut Butter is an excellent cold-weather treat. Tie yarn or heavy string to the end of a pine cone, spread on the peanut butter and hang it from a tree, or spread the peanut butter into the rough bark of a tree.