So many of us enjoy watching birds in our backyards, visiting the feeders and bird baths, singing songs in the morning and simply bringing joy. Bird watching – and bird feeding – are not strictly nice-weather activities, however, and it’s not difficult to continue the activity well into the dead of winter. Our NWA custom home communities lie nestled among wildlife habitats and natural settings, allowing our residents to enjoy the beauty of nature from their custom-built homes.
Many birds rely heavily on bird feeders to supplement their diet, particularly as natural food sources dwindle with the expansion of human habitat. Food is even more scarce in the winter as seeding and fruiting plants go dormant. Keeping a select variety of food and feeders in your yard during winter allows the birds to supplement their diet and keep them healthy during the cold winter months.
Types of Feeders
Several types of feeders exist to supplement various bird species in our backyards: tube, hopper, tray and more! The National Audubon Society recommends the tube feeder – especially if you’re only going to put one feeder out in your yard. As their name suggests, tube feeders are plastic tubes with ports and perches on them. These feeders hold several different types of seed, even the favorite black oil sunflower seeds. Several species and types of birds will frequent tube feeders, allowing you to create a mini buffet for all your feathered friends.
If you have the time and energy for additional feeders, place some hoppers and tray feeders in your yard. Hoppers fill from the top and are gravity-fed, ideal for various types of seed and dried fruit. Tray feeders sit a few inches to a few feet off the ground and, as the name suggests, provide a tray-platform for birds to feast on. Higher-quality tray feeders have a fine mesh on the bottom to prevent water from gathering.
Food: Seed and More
Blackoil sunflower seeds are among the best and most available foods to put out to attract a large quantity of bird species. According to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, these seeds have a high meat quantity and their shells are thin enough for most birds to crack easily. Another suggestion includes making your own seed blend of cracked corn, white piso millet and blackoil sunflower seeds. Certain species aren’t fond of seeds, but rather fruit. While many mixes line the shelves of retailers, you can also create your own by buying no-sugar-added dried raisins and currants, lightly dampening them with water, and putting them out for your fruit-loving bird species.
Hang tube and hopper feeders at least 5 feet off the ground, and place in an open area with close-by cover. Birds tend to scope out their feeding stations from safety before going in, and need a safe place to retreat in case predators are lurking. Placing feeders 10 feet or so from dense shrubs or evergreens allows birds the safety of eating their fill and retreating if necessary.
With so many species of birds in NWA, what are your favorites to watch? We hope you enjoy these tips for winter feeding, and look forward to seeing the new feathered visitors to your yard. Imagine all the birds you can view from your energy efficient Cobblestone Home. Connect with us to get started today.