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Grow With KARE: Winter bird care

Keeping the birds happily fed throughout the winter is very important.

Gardeners love birds - that is a fact!  In the winter with big fluctuations in temperatures and big storms lurking it is very important to take care of the them.  

We went to the All Seasons Wild Bird Store to get some guidance about this. I am a novice and Bobby knows quite a bit, but we both learned a lot.  

I did not know about the fact that you can use pellet suet for the birds that do not cling onto suet feeders, and that is a great way for many to get that beneficial fat.  

Bobby learned that if you go on vacation, or run out of seed, you do not have to worry about the birds returning.  Your feeder(s) are on a route and they will skip you if you are out, and likely come back.  

I did put up a new feeder hanging off my deck that I bought there and I am waiting to get on a route. I have not seen a bird yet!  Hopefully soon.

They have a great newsletter that is updated all of the time and the latest one is about New Year's Resolutions.

  1. PROVIDE A VARIETY OF FRESH, HIGH QUALITY, NUTRIENT-RICH SEEDS AND SUET. A variety of seeds will attract a variety of birds. Black oil sunflower, sunflower chips, Golden Safflower, peanuts and Nyjer all provide the needed high-oil content that birds need, especially over these winter months. Suet that includes peanuts, sunflower, and even insects, will help your backyard birds through the cold days and nights.
  2.  KEEP THE BIRD FEEDERS CLEAN. Wet seed can produce mold and bacteria even in the cold months and can spread disease to birds. Bird droppings are also a health hazard to our backyard birds. Be sure to clean your feeders on a regular basis.
  3.  PROVIDE A WATER SOURCE ALL YEAR. Even in the winter, birds need to keep their feathers clean in order to provide the best insulation during the cold days and nights. Birds can get a drink by eating the snow, but it takes a lot of energy to convert that snow to water—energy that they cannot afford to use during the winter. 
  4. PLANT FOR BIRDS. A favorite winter pastime for gardeners is planning for the spring and summer seasons. Include plantings for the birds in your plans. Trees, shrubs, flowers that can provide food (berries, nuts), nectar, and shelter can increase the number and varieties of birds that visit your yard. 
  5. REDUCE WINDOW COLLISIONS. Nearly a billion birds are killed in North America due to window collisions. Almost half of them happen at residential houses. Birds often don’t see window glass as a barrier, instead they see a seamless continuation of the habitat in the window reflections. There are many easy solutions to reduce window strikes, including vinyl decals that emit a UV light that birds can see, but humans cannot. We can also reduce window strikes by careful placement of bird feeders, and even the use of window feeders for the birds. You can contact our knowledgeable staff at any of our neighborhood stores for help with any of your bird lovers’ New Year's Resolutions.

Good luck with your birds!

Belinda & Bobby

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