We feed the birds in the winter here at Chiot’s Run. In the summer only the hummingbirds get free food, but we have plenty to eat around here with all the plants and bugs in the summer for the other birds. In the fall I made sure I leave the seed heads on all of my flowers because the birds eat those. But in the winter, we make sure that we feed our little feathered friends.
We feed them because we enjoy watching them (as do the cats). With so little else going on in the garden during the winter, it’s nice to be able to look outside and see signs of life.
We also feed them to keep them healthy. As they lose their habitat due to logging and urban sprawl they are often lacking food sources; so they are in need of a little help, especially in the cold winter months. Birds are great pest control in the gardens, so we want them here at Chiot’s Run. They naturally prey on insects like mosquitoes, cabbage worms, and other pests.
During cold snaps, you will almost certainly notice more birds coming into your garden to seek sanctuary from the harsher environment in the countryside – particularly if you provide food on a regular basis. The variety of species may increase too and you may be lucky enough to attract unusual visitors.
Finding a regular source of high-energy food such as a garden feeding station is the equivalent of winning the lottery for wild birds and a well-stocked garden is a real lifesaver.
Birds will become dependent on the food you supply, so it is important to make sure your feeders are kept topped up to prevent them from having a wasted visit. Providing a fresh, ice-free supply of water is another cold weather essential – drinking and bathing is a vital part of the daily routine of birds.
You may well witness a flurry of bird activity first thing in the morning – as they replenish energy lost overnight – and last thing in the afternoon – to prepare for the long night ahead.
The smallest birds, like blue tits and goldcrests, have to effectively feed throughout the hours of daylight in winter and consume a vast quantity of food – as much as 30% of their body weight – to make sure they build the necessary fat reserves to get them through the long, cold nights.
We provide a few different kinds of food for various birds in our area. We have a finch feeder full of nyjer seed, 1 feeder with a bird seed mix, 1 feeder full of black sunflower seeds, and a suet cake feeder for the woodpeckers. We also provide fresh water for our feathered friends with a heated bird bath.
Our bird feeders not only attract birds but also other animals like rabbits, opossums, and the cunning squirrel. We actually have 3 different kinds of squirrels that attempt to get into our bird feeders.
We don’t mind the rabbits and the opossums because they just eat off of the ground underneath the feeders. But the squirrels get in the feeder and empty it rather quickly. So we try to keep them away.
So how do we keep these little furry thieves out of our bird feeders? With hot peppers, I mix hot sauce with some oil and coat my bird seed with it. Works like a charm!
So do you feed your fine feathered friends?Filed under Birds, Wildlife | Comments (8)