(BPT) - Bright colors aren’t often associated with winter — but they can be.
In fact, a backyard full of beautiful colors and cheerful chirps may be just a few feedings away.
If you’ve never fed wild birds before, winter is the perfect time to get started. Opening up your backyard to birds during the coldest months of the year means you are helping sustain them during a time when food and water are scarce.
If you’re interested in turning your backyard into a hotspot for birds this winter, consider these tips:
Just like any other living creature, the survival of birds depends on their ability to find food, water and shelter. But as temperatures drop and winter months approach, the availability of these resources dwindles.
That’s where you come in.
Attracting wild birds to your backyard is as simple as creating a space that includes these three essential elements. But remember, birds are quick learners and it won’t take long for them to grow accustomed to your generosity. In other words, if you’re going to open up your backyard to birds, it’s important to continue providing them with food and water throughout the season.
Feeding No two birds sing the same song; different types of wild birds prefer different things. Everything from the food you serve to the feeders you serve it in will vary depending on the species of bird you’re dealing with. If you’re not sure what types of wild birds are native to your area, visit the National Audubon Society’s website to find out. Once you familiarize yourself with the specific types of birds that reside in your neighborhood, you can tailor your menu to serve their favorites.
First, focus on the feeder; Before making your selection, consider where your feeder will be located. For instance, feeders should be positioned approximately 8-10 feet away from shrubbery where predators may hide. They should also be placed in a sheltered area that’s less exposed to harsh weather and strong winds.
Inclement weather and pesky predators aren’t the only harrowing threat to birds. A dirty feeder can harbor many deadly illnesses, so you’ll want to get in the habit of regularly scraping off bird droppings and disinfecting the feeding area. Make a quick and easy at-home solution by using one part vinegar and 20 parts water — just remember to wait until the feeder is completely dry before refilling.
Types of food When it comes to wild birds, there are many varieties of feed to choose from. To attract a wide array of birds, consider black oil sunflower seed. You can also mix things up by using multiple feeders to serve different types of mixtures and blends. Feed containing suet acts as a substitute for natural fat, which is not only difficult to find during colder months but, upon consumption, provides birds with the calories and energy they need to endure the harsh winter elements.
Fresh Water Finding fresh, unfrozen water can be even more difficult for birds than finding food during winter. One or two bird baths arranged around your yard can help ensure birds have an ample source of water for drinking and bathing — which is essential to help them keep their feathers clean for flying.
When temperatures fall below freezing, a birdbath with a built-in heating element can help ensure birds are able to find the water they need. If you already have a birdbath but it doesn’t have a heater, consider buying a drop-in heating element that sits in the bottom of the basin. Another option suggested by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is to place an incandescent light bulb inside a flowerpot and sit the basin on top of the pot. The heat from the bulb will help keep the water in liquid form.
For more ideas and tips on how to attract wild birds to your backyard, visit Know How Central.
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