GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - It's been slowly creeping in, and now, it's finally cold.

Winter is officially right around the corner, and that means time to take care of the little critters outdoors.

It's the season also where birds migrate and that can be a dangerous time for them, especially if food is scarce.

But, you can help different species survive the winter months.

Chris Hanson, with Wild Birds Unlimited of Lakeville, stopped by the KARE 11 Sunrise backyard with some tips about how to do just that.

1. Feeding birds year-round and choosing healthy, nutritious foods such as suet, black-oil sunflower seeds, fruit and nuts. These foods provide high amounts of fat and (sugar) calories to help birds have plenty of energy during migration and to sustain them on long cold winter nights. Seed Cylinders are great to offer in the winter. They last longer than loose seed, keep the birds at your feeders longer so you can enjoy looking at them and you have to make fewer trips to refill the feeder.

2. Keeping bird feeders and bird baths clean and fresh. Bird feeders and bird baths should be cleaned on a regular basis with a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water. Bird baths provide a reliable source of water for drinking and bathing, which is especially important in cold weather to keep feathers in top flight condition and to provide insulation to keep them warm. Many natural sources of water freeze over in winter, that's why it's important to offer a bird bath with a heater.

3. Providing cover for the birds. Roosting boxes or natural plant covers can also aid birds seeking protection from cold weather. Shelter is also needed for protection against natural predators, such as birds of prey and domestic cats.
Preserve natural habitats for birds to refuel and rest during migration. This includes choosing native plants, which can offer shelter and/or a natural food sources. By providing evergreen trees, shrubs and, you can offer a safe place for birds to escape the elements, rest and refuel for their long journey.

4. Sharing your love of birds with friends and family members to introduce them to the rewarding hobby, therefore raising awareness of birds in every season and encouraging more people to enjoy migration and protect migrating birds.

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