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Seasonal Tip

Feeding The Birds
December 21, 2009

Bird feeding has become one of the most popular interactions with wildlife. It is easy to understand its popularity. The ability to give back to nature while reaping the education and entertainment of watching the daily habits of these backyard creatures is immensely satisfying.

Attracting birds is an activity to be enjoyed regardless of the size of your property. Providing food, water, and shelter will increase not only the number of birds that visit but the diversity as well.

During the winter months, birds spend a majority of their days searching for food. The food that is eaten is converted to fat and used during the hours of darkness and cold just to survive. Some species of birds store just enough fat to survive through one night and must then begin the quest for food the next morning.

Water is also important. This is especially true when temperatures dip below freezing and much of the available water becomes frozen. Keep a fresh water source available. This may require the need to have two containers available. Place one outdoors for the current day’s use. Replace it with the second container the following morning and allow the original to thaw.

Food preferences vary amongst the different species of birds. Many packages of seed will contain a variety of ingredients. In this way, one bag will satisfy the feeding needs of many. When buying a seed mix, avoid those with a high content of agricultural grains. These include wheat, oats, red millet, and milo. While it may look as those you are purchasing a lot of seed, much of it will go uneaten and simply fall to the ground, eventually spoiling or even attracting unwanted rodents.

While feeding the birds is a great source of enjoyment, please keep in mind that once you begin to offer a supply of winter nourishment, it should be done with daily diligence. The birds will come to rely upon the feeders.

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