We gardeners might be migrating indoors when snow starts flying and temps get chilly, but our bird friends are still out there looking for food, water, and shelter. Keep the following in mind and prepare you garden/landscape to offer birds the necessities to help them get through winter.
A Heated Birdbath
At times, finding water can become more critical than finding food during the winter season. Provide a heated water source.
A heated birdbath that mounts to deck railing
A heater to place in a birdbath
Dense thickets of briars, brambles, and grape vines provide refuge for many birds. Evergreen plants and other tightly branched specimens will allow protection for birds as well. If you put up a live Christmas tree, don’t discard it after taking the décor off, place it outside for the birds to use/enjoy.
You will need:
Pour birdseed into a large paper plate. Spread peanut butter all over the pine cones, and then roll them in the birdseed. Tie a piece of string to the top of each cone and hang them outside on tree branches. You can reuse the pine cones, once the birds have picked them clean.
Festive Popcorn Strings
You will need:
Pop your popcorn and let it cool. Thread a long piece of string on a large needle. Alternate a piece of popcorn with cranberries. Once you have several strings, take them outside and hang them around trees in the backyard. For added variety, roll the popcorn in oil and then in sesame seed, bread crumbs, or birdseed.
Bird Treat Ornaments
Orange slices are an appreciated treat as well. Different species appreciate different food types. Study the species you’re trying to attract, or offer a variety of food types to meet different needs. Below is a recipe for Bluebird treats.
Bluebird Winter Treat
•4 cups cornmeal, yellow preferred
•1 cup unbleached flour
•1 cup peanut butter (without sodium and sugar added)
Mix well. Add:
•1 cup sunflower chips
•1 cup ground peanuts (unsalted, of course)
•1/2 to 1 cup currants or stewed and chopped raisins
Mix well again. Then, add:
•1 cup melted lard (preferred), or suet. Mix again.
The mixture should be somewhat crumbly and not too moist. Store it in plastic bags or containers in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for longer term.
This is a very nutritious treat which many songbirds love, especially bluebirds.