WINTER CARE FOR BIRDS

Friday, January 1, 2021

We love our birds! SO MUCH! Whether we’re waking up to their sweet singing or watching them frolic around a feeder, birds do something to us. When we’re engaged with them, all of worldly concerns seem to fall away, even if only for a few moments. As winter approaches and so prevails, birds really need our help. Imagine being a tiny little bird out there in the elements, staring into the face of winter. Eeeep! They need our help to provide nutrition, shelter, and water, in order to survive. Here are some ways that you can provide winter care for birds in your own backyard!

Shelmerdine Bird

Nutrition

In general, winter birdfeeding should offer food that is high in fat. Birds need to move more in order to stay warm and to survive the cold. And, finding food is more difficult for them during the winter, as insects and seeds are harder to find. Ideally, your winter birdfeeders should contain a mixture of seeds such as black oil sunflower, shelled peanuts, thistle seed, and white millet seed. Besides seed, suet is simply wonderful in terms of fatty content! Within the fatty suet, a variety of seeds, fruit, oats, peanut butter, corn meal and meal worms is suspended. Suet is an excellent source of energy and comes in so many formats that are easy to put out for your feathered friends.

Shelmerdine Suet

a downy woodpecker hangs from the cage of a suet feeder. Black eyes wide open, the bird looks at the peanut suet treat.

Here’s the catch. Not all birdseed is created equal. 

This is where we fluff up our feathers! The majority of birdseed in big box and grocery stores is primarily filler, such as milo seed, which birds don’t eat. As a local business, we work closely with locally graineries to offer you the highest quality bird seed – with no fillers. If you’re passionate about feeding your birds, do your research and choose your feed wisely.

Consistency is key!

Once birds discover and start to eat from your feeders, it’s very important to be consistent about keeping your birdfeeders filled. Birds are very territorial and rely on sources of food within their territories. They perform daily feeding routines and will quickly begin to rely on your feeder as a source of food. If the feeder is empty at times, birds won’t regard it as a reliable source of food and may not visit as much as you’d like to see them.

Shelmerdine Birdfeeder

Shelter

All birds need cover to nest in, to hide from predators, and to protect them from winter elements. Even if your yard is small, a mixture of trees and shrubs, especially dense evergreens, will offer them protection. Some birds are rather shy and won’t approach a feeder unless there’s vegetative protection nearby. Including evergreen trees and shrubs into your landscape as an essential way to provide winter care for birds. Our little tip: Once Christmas is over, set your real tree outside until the springtime- the birds will enjoy the extra protection! 

Water

Water can be extremely hard even in warm weather, and birds need fresh water all year long. Yes, birds need to drink too! Although birds can eat snow, it costs them precious energy to warm the snow up to body temperature. Flying around in search of water burns their energy and takes them farther away from food sources. The simple act of providing fresh water in winter can make the difference between survival and death for birds. You can remedy this by setting out a heated birdbath or pet dish, or by setting out saucers of fresh water near your feeders until they freeze.

Be a friend to the birds this winter! They’ll thank you with the sweetest of songs come springtime!

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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
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