Most of you put in a ton of time in your landscapes during Spring and Summer. Now that the most of your veggie and landscape gardens are down for their winter nap, what other outdoor activity will give you the same satisfaction and stress reducing feelings during the colder months? I’m sure you’ve noticed being outdoors that there is a TON of activity by our feathery friends. (Remember, if you planted flowers that have seed heads, let them stay over the winter and they will provide food for the birds.)
With the trees and shrubs that were planted this year, your bird populations might be up..this is a GREAT thing! Birds help us keep our bug populations down! They need caterpillars, spiders, flies, mosquitoes, and everything in between to feed their young and themselves! **Did you know that Chickadees, in order to raise their young, need 6,000-9,000 caterpillars?!?!** So why, wouldn’t we keep them around in the winter and care for them by feeding them?
You don’t need acres; you don’t need tons of trees. You need a Shepard’s hook, a feeder, and some seed. If you have trees, you need a hook to attach the feeder to a limb. I’ve used twine to put the feeders on the tree. And yes, you can put the seed right on the ground, so you don’t have to have a feeder.
The enjoyment of watching these feathery critters is fun. You see different ones and then you become interested in what they are. You find an app to identify them. I use Merlin Bird ID. Before you know it, you’ve started to talk with your neighbors, friends, or a stranger at the store about what visited your feeder yesterday and then they start talking about what is at their feeders…and wait…if they have a bird that you do not, well….don’t think you won’t be on the lookout.
There are some fun kid activities too that will help them get into birdwatching. Try looking for pinecones while you are taking a walk on the trail. Bring them home, tie some yarn or twine to the bottom of the cone (this will be used for hanging) and use peanut butter (use lard if you have allergies) and smear the pinecone with it. Roll it in bird seed, hang on a tree. Taadaa! Watch your kids love watching the birds. Be ready to download the app!
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: Cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, goldfinches, chickadees, titmice
Thistle Seed (Nyjer): goldfinches
Safflower Seed: Chickadees, titmice, downy woodpeckers
Suet: Most birds LOVE suet!
Wildbird Mix: A variety of seeds which will bring a variety of birds to your feeder