Pamplin Media Group – How to care for winter birds in your yard

Lack of greenery in winter poses challenges for non-hibernating animals

The pristine white backdrop of a snowy winter day can be a wonder to behold.

While fresh snow on the ground can create impressive landscapes, the absence of greenery in the midst of harsh winter poses challenges for animals that do not come out in winter in a state of hibernation.

Several species of birds stay in colder climates during the winter. Red-winged crossbills, snow buntings, Bohemian waxwings, evening grosbeaks and cardinals are just some of the birds you can find looking outside on a cold winter day. . Birdwatching in winter can be a rewarding pastime because, despite the cold conditions, birds tend to be easy to find in bare trees. Additionally, colder temperatures can keep many people indoors, which means neighborhoods, trails and parks can be very quiet, making it easier for those who brave the cold to see birds.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says winter is hard on birds due to weather and food scarcity. In addition, birds must consume a lot of food in a short time to have the energy and body heat to survive each day. Even birds that store food in caches or have developed unique retrieval strategies to find as much food as possible can benefit from a little help in winter. Penn State Extension suggests providing a variety of foods to attract the greatest number of species. Small black oil sunflower seeds are preferred by many smaller bird species and have a high oil content that is nutritionally important to birds. Other sunflower seeds will suit blue jays and cardinals. Other popular foods include white proso millet, thistle seeds, niger seeds, and peanuts.

Consult a wild bird store, which likely sells a bird seed mix that allows you to place a variety of seeds in a single feeder. In addition to seeds, suet (made from high-quality animal fat) is crucial for birds in winter. Families can get crafty by spreading peanut butter on pine cones and sprinkling seeds on top. Hang pine cones tied to pieces of string from tree branches for homemade bird feeders.

The birds probably need a little help to survive the winter when conditions can be grim. Offering food and observing backyard visitors can be a great way to relax on winter afternoons.

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