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  • Writer's pictureJohn Sterling Poole

Winter is Coming

The leaves are changing, the gardens are wilting, and the season of Thanksgiving is beginning! Soon after that will follow the Holiday Season. As it gets colder though, the birds are going to change up their diet and habits! This post is going to cover a host of different feeding options as well as different trends during this season.

Where have the birds gone?

A lot of folks see a steep drop in bird feeding once temperatures lower. The reason for the drop is that there are a ton of natural foods all around! Birds are focusing on what they can scavenge out in their habitat. This is their instinct. Their natural diet satisfies all nutritional needs in preparation for the colder winter months.

This does not, though mean that they’ve forgotten about your feeders! It is quite the opposite. Birds are leaving their normal feeders to see if there is a better, more consistent food source. This means that you need to make sure your feeders are clean and stocked up. The birds will go to wherever has the most consistent amounts of food. If you make sure your feeders are supplying enough nutrients, fats, and proteins, the birds will surely depend on your feeders later in the winter when natural foods are not as prevalent!

What should and shouldn’t be cleaned?

It is obvious to keep your feeders clean. This keeps the birds healthy, preserves the lifespan of your food, and simply looks a lot nicer! A diluted bleach solution cleans feeders well, however it is imperative that you make sure the feeder is thoroughly washed out and dried before being placed out again. The same goes for houses and baths! All three of those backyard accessories should be cleaned right now to ensure that your yard is a welcoming habitat to all birds!

The Dark-Eyed Junco loves to forage in brush!

What isn’t very obvious is how you should leave your yard as it is. Birds love natural landscapes. Nature isn’t clean; nature is messy, chaotic, and unkempt! Leave the brush piles in your backyard. Not only will they use these piles for cover and comfort, but several birds can forage within them for different seeds and insects. Allowing your yard to follow a natural cycle can truly draw in all types of birds!

Housing and Water

Most folks remember housing in preparation for Nesting Season and they’ll remember water in the dog days of the summer. However, houses and water sources are also important in the winter!

Houses are used as shelter by birds on those particular cold days/nights. Days that are stormy, rainy, windy, and, on the very off-chance in Charleston, snowy can be perilous for birds. Having a clean, secure shelter on standby increases their chances of survival tremendously.

Water sources are also key in the winter time! You’d be surprised how much birds get water from sprinkler systems and other run off water from gardens. In the winter time, that water is typically not being provided. Furthermore, there is not nearly as much rain as there is in the spring, summer, and early fall. Not only to birds drink water, but a proper bath allows a bird to ensure that the feathers are clean. Clean feathers improve insulation of heat for birds. Offering water throughout the winter is key for the birds.

Winter Feeding

Everyone knows that suet is go-to winter food for birds. There is a good reason why folks think that: suet is rich in fat and protein which are exactly what the birds need to fight off the cold winter. However, there a lot more options than suet!

We have gotten our Winter SuperBlend back in stock which the birds absolutely devour. This blend is unbelievably rich in energy which will keep the birds happy, healthy, and heated throughout this season. The SuperBlend contains calcium bits, sunflower chips, Nutrasaff (a high protein safflower), tree nuts, and BarkButter Bits. All of those ingredients fuel the birds! Another plus is that the SuperBlend comes in both cylinder and loose seed!

While on the subject of seed blends, we have also just switched our seasonal blend from White Deluxe Plus to No-Mess Plus! The No-Mess Plus blend is perfect for this time of year as it offers plenty of energy in its sunflower chips, peanuts, and fruits. Several birds crave sugar (because of its high energy levels) during the winter. The fruits within the No-Mess Plus satisfy that craving for them! One other perk is that the blend is entirely No-Mess which means you don’t have to worry about shells or casings clogging up/dirtying your feeders and yard.

Lastly, we have our seed characters back! Not only are these characters cute, but they are also perfect for the birds! They are all rich in protein. All of them has some sort of fruit on them to satisfy that need. These characters can sit on/in most cylinder feeders! They make excellent gifts for those who are just getting into birding. (Speaking of gifts to new birders, check out our Share the Joy Winter Bird Feeding Box by clicking here!)

Cater to the Birds

A key to bird feeding is offering a variety of food and food types. If you find the right mix of foods, you’ll see the flocks coming to you! By staying with seasonal feeding trends, your birds are not only healthier, but they are also more likely to stick around in your yard for the foreseeable future! (Some folks have had the same birds in their yards for years!) You want to find the right variety for your yard. If your birds love the No-Mess Plus, try offering a fruity suet in conjunction with the blend. If they love mealworms, give them some BarkButter Bits as well! Finding the proper variety can yield some great results for your yard.

For those special visitors, be sure to feed them what they like! The Orioles love the jelly and the Goldfinches love thistle! (To learn more about both of these species, click here!) The Winter Finch Forecast predicts that we should have quite a wonderful year at our finch feeders!

All of these sections are going to better prepare you for this winter. By following these steps, you can make your yard the most appealing to your birds! If you have questions on any of these subjects, give us a call (843-216-8800)! Or better yet, give us a visit! We love to answer any and all questions for you! To shop at our online store, click here.

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