John Sterling Poole
Food for Fall!
If you’ve read my two previous posts, you should know that it is, in fact, fall and that important changes are happening for your birds. We have to change with them! Birds need us to be cognizant of the food and resources we are providing for them, and we should be aware of the options available to diversify your foods!
The first point I will make is reiterating what I said last week: make sure your food is fresh! Fresh food is healthy, nutritious, and appealing to birds. Always look for dates on birdseed bags. You can preserve seed and foods by refrigerating or freezing the food!
One of my favorite foods for birds is suet. I love suet because it’s cheap, easy, comes in different flavors, and it doesn’t really go bad (especially if you put it in your freezer). This food, sometimes called a superfood, is full of protein and energy which helps the birds fight off cooler temperatures. It is important for birds to eat these fatty foods now to accrue some body fat which will keep them better insulated when the thermometers finally decide to descend (which will happen hopefully soon!).
Along those lines, Barkbutter products are especially good in the fall and winter. I don’t like to advertise very much in this blog, but the fact of the matter is that there is no other product out in the market like this. Barkbutter is liked by more than a 165 different species of birds and it comes in several forms: butter, bits, and plugs. The birds go crazy for it, and it provides plenty of nutrition for your backyard companions. I personally like mixing the Barkbutter Bits (the hot pepper kind because I have squirrel problems) with my live mealworms. Bluebirds, cardinals, wrens, and woodpeckers go wild in my mealworm dish. These bits actually brought in my downy woodpecker!
Mealworms, peanuts, tree nuts, fruits (craisins, raisins, dried cherries) and safflower are all higher protein foods and should be included in your loose seed feeders if possible. This will make your birds happy and healthy. You just might be able to draw in some new birds to by adding this variety! Try making your own seed blends and see what you get! (Important note: larger foods like nuts and fruits can sometimes clog smaller feeder. Investigate your feeder’s port sizes before adding these foods.)
The last thing that you should provide for your birds is water. Charleston is pretty dry right now, and even though it is drizzling as I write this, it is still not enough. Birds obviously drink water, but bathing in water keeps them healthy by staving off sicknesses or infections. Beyond just fighting germs, having clean feathers actually insures that the birds stay warm which becomes pretty important when it gets cold! You’ll want to set up a water source soon so that way the birds know that it is there when the elements really get rough. Moving water also draws birds in. They prefer this over stagnant water because they realize it is cleaner water without mosquito larva. A water wiggler accomplishes this, and so do fountains.
The last note I want to make before closing out is pretty important: all of the things I mentioned are important year-round! Birds need water in the winter and in the summer. Birds will eat Barkbutter and suet year round. Birds will eat mealworms, peanuts, tree nuts, and safflower year round! It is just important right now especially to have these foods and resources!
Next week we’ll dive in depth into suet because there are some many important and interesting notes on it!
You can find products for your yard by clicking on the links below: