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  Sunday, April 20, 2014  
   
 

 
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Feed The Birds This Winter

Birds need to eat year round, which is why it’s important to keep feeders full throughout the four seasons. It is during the winter that feeding birds can be most beneficial. In fact, winter feeding can actually improve the traffic on your feeder, since many outdoor pets will find, and stay,  where there is food to be had.

In the winter months, birds’ natural food becomes scarce. Insects, fruits and seeds are just summertime memories, and as a result, many birds come to feast at feeders throughout the day. In fact, it’s not uncommon to spy a group of cardinals, finches and grosbeaks crowded around a feeding station together instead of living their typically segregated lives.
An important rule of winter feeding is to be prepared. By stocking up on premium bird seed, bird lovers can help to secure a wholesome food source for birds without having to brave stormy weather. It’s also a great idea to add suet to the diet of your outdoor pets. Not only does suet offer birds an important source of fat, but premium suet like Wild Delight’s Fruit & Berry Smoothie Suet contains real fruits like dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries and raisins that birds love.

In addition to feeders, bird lovers can help birds survive through the winter by stocking their yards with plants that retain their berries, seeds or cones into the winter months. Plus, these types of natural food may attract birds like cedar waxwings that seldom visit feeders.

Feeding birds can be especially important when temperatures fall below zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius). Easy meals at the feeder can mean the difference between life and death. In very cold weather, birds survive by remaining very still, perching quietly with their feathers fluffed out for insulation. They do this to save energy, which can only happen if they have enough body fat to fuel them. Consequently, birds that have access to feeding stations have an easier time putting on and retaining fat.

To help ensure that birds can easily access your feeders, keep them free of ice and snow. Even adding a roof to existing feeders can make a difference. For those who live in areas with heavy snowfalls, temporarily move feeders closer to the house, so they’re easier to fill. Plus, with feeders closer to home, many bird lovers can enjoy a close-up view of their outdoor pets.

Just because feeders are closer to the residence doesn’t mean that homeowners have to put up with a mess on the ground. For those who value a clean yard, look for waste-free products, like Wild Delight Deck, Porch N’ Patio, which don’t contain filler ingredients that leave behind messy leftovers.

Just as birds need food year round, they also look for water. This can be tricky where water spends the winter as ice, but there are a number of ways that bird lovers can help out. For instance, experts says that leaving icicles on the eaves can provide a regular source of water for birds (they will drink the drops as icicles melt). In addition, a shallow basin of warm water set out daily or an electric heater for bird baths is sure to make any yard a magnet for birds during cold winter months.

Feeding birds is becoming more and more popular every year, and while birds don’t rely solely on feeders in the winter, feeders do provide a beneficial food source that helps outdoor wildlife survive the colder months. No matter what the season, feeding birds is important, and feeders should be kept full year round.