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Year-Round Giving: Attracting Birds in the Winter

December 30, 2013

Attracting Birds in the Winter

attracting birds in the winter

What happens to birds in the winter? How can I attract birds to my garden in the winter? How do they stay warm? These are great questions and I have some tips on how to create an inviting area for the birds in your yard. 

What happens to birds in the winter? Some migrate and some stay in your area year-round. For those birds that stay in your area you have a great opportunity to create an inviting place for the birds to come and you get some great colorful entertainment. 

How can I attract birds to my garden in the winter?  Three things will attract birds: food, water, and shelter. Winter is cold and birds need food to stay warm. If you feed the birds in the winter be prepared to commit to the season. Once birds find a reliable source of food they continue to come back. I feed my birds seed and suet.  If you live in areas where ponds, lakes, or bird baths freeze put out fresh clean water that mimics a puddle. Birds also need shelter. You can purchase Winter roosting boxes or make your own. A good illustrated book is Birdhouses and Feeders with directions on making 30 different birdhouses, bird feeders, roosting boxes and nesting houses. I have bird houses and plenty of thick evergreens that the birds live in. 

Bird watching in the winter. I have nine different varieties of birds that come to my deck. I also have squirrels. I love the squirrels and I feed them as well. I know a lot of people try to keep the squirrels out of their bird food but it is a losing battle so just embrace the little furballs. They are playful and fun to watch! I mix squirrel food with my bird food and serve it up and they eat together in harmony.
Instead of bird feeders I line my deck railing with food. This allows multiple birds to visit my feeding area at once. I have had at the most 12 birds at one time. Blue Jays, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Chickadees , Nuthatches, Wrens, Juncos, and Titmouse all hanging out feeding together. 

I put out seed twice a day; morning and early evening.  If I see them out there midday looking for food I will put out more food. I have ground feeders like Dark Eyed Juncos, Wrens and squirrels cleaning up the seeds that fall from the railing.

To prepare for the nesting season in the spring start collecting pine needles, twigs, scraps of yarn, and wool. Store in a paperbag or cardboard box in a dry area. In a later post I will show you how to turn those suet feeders into nesting material stations for the birds.

Meanwhile now is the perfect time to start Planning a Spring Garden

What birds are in your area? Do you have tips on attracting birds this winter season?

attracting birds in the winter


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