Keeping Your Birds Happy All Winter

Winter is a very important time for feeding your little flying friends. Feeding your birds on a regular basis insures their survival throughout every season.

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Connecticut is home to species such as chickadees, cardinals, juncos, woodpeckers, blue jays, nuthatches and sparrows.  These birds rely on backyard feeders to supplement the native stores of winter food.  Providing native birds with sources of shelter and water is also very important during the winter months.  An ample source of a variety of food is essential to establishing a continuous flow of birds to your yard.  Birds need food like sunflowers, suet and cracked corn and once they find it, the feeders are certain to be filled all winter long.  Birds are wild about nuts…they are more in demand than even the ever popular black oil sunflower seeds.  Keeping bird feeders clean is vital to backyard bird health.

Attracting colorful birds to your yard is fun and beneficial. By adding a few key elements, you can enjoy the company of wild bird’s year around. Keep reading to learn about the four key elements to keep your birds happy and full all season long.

Element 1: Food

To attract the widest variety of wild birds, you should consider 20150128_151959placing a variety of feeders and food around your yard. There are different types of feeding stations such as platform feeder for ground feeding, hanging feeders for perching birds, and suet feeders for insect eating birds.

Element 2: Shelter and Places to Raise Young

Wild birds feel more secure when there is a shelter nearby. Place feeders near evergreens and bushy shrubs to help protect their young from predators. Consider offering nesting boxes and nesting materials, especially in the Spring. Evergreens and conifers provide a natural source of winter protection and shelter as well.

Element 3: Waterbird water

The single most important thing to include in your bird habitat is water. The sound of moving water draws more wild birds in. A mister, dripper, or circulating pump added to a bird bath or pool of fresh water can make all the difference

Element 4: Variety of Foliage and Habitat

Wild birds live in a great variety of habitats. The greater the variety or diversity of plants that you can create in your backyard the more species of wild birds you can attract.  These natural habitats also provide a food source which is critical for backyard birds. Planning for plantings which provide them with food in the winter months such as seeds and berries is easy and rewarding. There are a variety of plants which provide seasonal interest and winter nourishment. Perennials such as echinacea and woody shrubs such as winterberry and holly are rich sources of winter nourishment. Leaf litter in a yard, not covered by snow, is a rich source of insects, seeds and nuts.

Backyard bird feeding is an inexpensive but thoroughly rewarding activity. A small feeder and some sunflower seeds can provide you with a rich source of entertainment during those cold winter days.

For Seasonal Feeding:

Fall- Start early!! Birds are now establishing feeding territories.

Winter- Weather in certain areas usually determines what birds will show up at your feeder. Birds travel great distances for a reliable food source.

Spring-This is the most important time to feed birds. Supplies of natural food are scarce and the birds depend a lot on your feeders. Make sure your feeders are fully stocked with all their favorite foods.

Summer- There are many natural food sources available at this time, however you should still keep your feeders stocked

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We carry a selection of seeds at the nursery to attract a variety of birds to your yard.  Our seed mixes have very little filler to keep your yard neat and provide the most nutrition to the birds. 

Below is a list of some types of seed which are attractive to different varieties of birds.

Sunflower…

Attracts the largest selection of birds…

Black oil sunflower attracts small feeder birds

Striped sunflower attracts large beaked birds

Hulled sunflower seeds attract:

·               blue jays

·               red-bellied woodpeckers

·               finches

·               goldfinches

·               northern cardinals

·               evening grosbeaks

·               pine grosbeaks

·               chickadees

·               titmice

·               nuthatches and grackles

Nyjer or thistle attracts:

·               American  goldfinches

·              house finches and

·               common redpolls

Suet…

Attracts insect eating birds such as:

·               woodpeckers

·               wrens

·               chickadees

·               nuthatches and

·               titmice

For berry or fruit-eating birds such as…

·               robins

·               waxwings

·               bluebirds and mockingbirds

which rarely eat birdseed, soak raisins or currants in water overnight then place on a table feeder or provide them with a dried fruit blend