Deep snow and ice cover can cut off many birds' natural food supplies causing them to starve. Backyard feeding can make a real contribution to their survival during winter months. For a successful winter birding season, follow these points from the National Wildlife Federation:
1. Put out feeders with a good size capacity: And/or use multiple feeders to provide ample food especially during snow and ice storms.
2. Provide nutritious winter seed foods: For most birds this includes mixes of black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, and nyjer seed.
3. Offer fatty food too: Birds need to burn more calories in winter just to stay warm. Suet is considered a high energy food because it consists of fat that has 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates or protein. Suet feeders are a favorite of woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds.
4. Keep your feeders full: Winter birds need to stock up on calories especially for those long, cold winter nights.
5. Be consistent and keep feeding through the winter: Birds grow accustomed to your feeders especially in severe weather. If you leave home for an extended period, try to have a neighbor or friend keep the feeders going.
6. Remember water: Birds can become dehydrated in winter even if surrounded by ice and snow. Putting out a pan of water near the feeder on warm days is a terrific idea.
7. Stamp down the snow below: Ground-feeding birds will be able to gather up the seed that drop from the feeders.
8. Hang feeders in cat-safe locations: Place feeders in locations that do not also offer hiding places for sneak-attacks by cats and other predators. Think of placing the feeders ten to twelve feet from shrubs or brush piles. This gives the birds some time to react.
9. Remember feeder cleanliness: Your feeders can get a little grimy. Because natural food sources are scarcer in winter, more birds may be attracted to backyard feeders and those feeders will need to be cleaned with some hot water and dried a few times during the season.
10. Save some money and stock up on seed: Buy Bird Seed while it is on sale. Stored properly, in cool dry places, seed can last for months, particularly seed mixes and sunflower seeds.
Remember to also keep bird feeders away from glass doors and windows to prevent bird to window collisions.
Find bird seed, feeders, suet, suet cages, birdhouses and birdbaths at your neighborhood Johnson's.