Personally, winter is not my favorite time of year. As an avid gardener, I go a bit stir crazy keeping myself busy until the spring comes again and I can be back outside playing in the dirt. But one of the activities that I do love this time of year is feeding and watching the lovely birds that visit our birdbaths and feeders. While some are only making a quick pit-stop on a southward journey, many are “regulars” that I recognize as they take their daily meals. In Our Fairfield Garden we have three suet feeders, three birdbaths and four feeders that are kept well stocked during the winter months. Equipped with small electrical heating elements made especially for birdbaths, a water supply is always available to critters in our garden. This year I am also experimenting with a small solar unit to see if we can switch over to sun power completely next winter. Meeting birds’ basic needs of food, water and shelter are even more important in frigid temperatures when there are fewer natural foods on hand, water may be frozen and staying warm and out of the weather is more difficult.
Many folks think you are supposed to clean out and put away birdhouses at the end of summer, but I’m here to tell you differently. Clean and put them back up! Birdhouses are crucial in the winter for some overwintering species to have shelter from the elements. Thick evergreen trees and shrubs should also be planted on your property to offer refuge and cover from predators.
What a delight it is on a snowy day to sit inside our cozy home and watch the birds taking turns at the feeders. They come to dine, sometimes with a mate, in a group or solo, grab a bite to eat and then flit off again. There seems to be a natural order. Some feed while others patiently await their turn, then swoop in for a share of the feast. Suet provides a high energy, quick meal for some while other diners prefer the seed, nuts, cut fruit and stale bread offerings. All birdseeds are not created equal, either. Purchase a good quality birdseed with a variety of grains, seeds and nuts to appeal to a wide range of birds.
Be ready to host other company at your feeders! I always put extra seed out knowing that a few squirrels will drop by for a nosh. My philosophy is that they have to eat too and will pay for their supper by letting me watch their antics!
Metal feeders will protect your birdseed from the over enthusiastic chompings of our squirrel friends!
Here’s two other posts you might enjoy showing how I turned an old rake into a bird buffet and a winter tour of our garden!