Support Wild Birds Winter 2021! The Backyard Naturalist's Winter 2021 Checklist for Backyard Birding: Focus on the Fundamentals and provide best quality.

Supporting Wild Birds During Winter, Our Backyard Birders’ Checklist

Help your backyard birds get through winter by focusing on fundamentals

Here’s our winter checklist for backyard birders and supporting wild birds in Winter. We’re keeping this simple: Focus on providing three fundamental needs. Be prepared to provide them consistently—even during the worst winter weather!

Helping your birds survive and thrive comes with rewards for all!  Seeing healthy birds frequent your feeders and baths each day will be a joy. Your backyard birds can help you get through this winter, too!!

Food – Feeding Wild Birds During Winter

Maximize nutrition in your feeders.
Provide high calorie seeds and suet with essential protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Food quality directly affects birds’ ability to survive cold weather. Keeping warm takes extra calories! With fast-acting metabolisms, birds must be efficient eaters. For survival, they absolutely must maximize each and every opportunity for nourishment. Quality food in clean feeders matters!! You may also need to check feeders more frequently for refilling.

Please remind your friends and family to never feed bread to birds. Bread has ZERO nutrition while filling birds’ stomachs, robbing them of their best chance of not freezing to death.
Find the facts here: Bread is Bad for Birds

Birds Need Water All Year Round for Drinking and Bathing. Even in Winter!

Keep bird baths from freezing over.
Get heated bird baths or add deicers.

We can never, ever, say it enough: Water is critical year round for wild birds to drink and bathe. During freezing temperatures, your heated bird bath might just be the only accessible, unfrozen source of water nearby for your backyard birds.
See our website: Birds, Water and Winter

Your Bird House is Welcome Shelter from Freezing Winter Weather

Have bird houses up now.
Bird houses offer sanctuary for songbirds during winter weather.

Yes! Your bird houses offer songbirds, like Bluebirds, Chickadees, Titmice and Carolina Wrens (among others), safe places to keep warm and roost when weather is extreme. Be sure you’ve removed all previous nest debris.
Learn more: Shelter Birds During Winter in Your Bird HousesBonus: Even if birds aren’t using your houses, they’re making note of their locations ahead of nesting season. Especially early nesters like Bluebirds. (It won’t be long!)

We hope you and your families are well.  Thank you for supporting wild birds.  Your continuing support of our efforts here at the store means the world to us.

Happy Winter Birding!
Debi & Mike Klein and The Backyard Naturalist Team

Food + Water + Shelter = Habitat!

By providing your birds, quality food, un-frozen water and opportunities for respite from winter weather, your backyard now has the three simple elements that define a ‘micro-habitat’! Find out more about how important our backyard micro-habitats are, and the contribution each little backyard patch makes to the overall well-being of wild birds. See our Habitat resources in the top menu.

Eastern Bluebird Juveniles discovering a backyard bird bath.

The Backyard Birder’s Summer Checklist

Make your backyard a summer haven for wild birds! (And for you and your family, too.)

Every backyard can be a haven for backyard birds. It can be so simple! With three humble elements—no matter the scale, level of your effort or limits of your budget—you can support the health and wellbeing of generations of wild birds.

If you haven’t started a backyard habitat or want to add to one, summer is a great time to do it. Here are some of our best tips on getting the most out of summer backyard birding.

The Backyard Birder’s Summer Checklist

WATER

  • Water, water WATER! All wild birds need water for drinking and bathing, so there’s a great opportunity for you to host birds not tempted by your seed feeders.
    KEY: Keep the bath clean and the water fresh. You may need to check more frequently and top it up. For details on maintaining your bird baths, see our resource page ‘Wild Birds, Summer and Water‘.
  • Worried about mosquitoes in your bird bath? Don’t!
    Reasons why a well-maintained bird bath WILL NOT breed mosquitoes:
    • Birds eat mosquito larvae! No self respecting bird will leave this tasty treat behind.
    • Mosquito larvae takes minimum 7-10 days to hatch. As a conscientious host, during that time you will have freshened the water several times. (Did you read ‘Wild Birds, Summer and Water‘?)
    • Mosquito larvae tubers will drown due to the frenzied, bathing activity of your guests and the timely refilling and freshening you do..
    • Where are mosquitoes breeding? See Mosquitoes, Bird Baths and Your Backyard to find out more.

Food

  • It’s Hummingbird Season and fresh nectar is essential! Feeders should be emptied and rinsed (no soap!) two to three times a week—or sooner if it looks cloudy—and refilled with fresh nectar. See our resource page about Hummingbirds for more, including an easy nectar recipe!
  • Clean feeders regularly! Check for mold and clumpy seed, particularly after lots of rain and humidity. Hot soapy water is great for seed feeders. Soak. Scrub. Rinse well. Dry. Refill.  See ‘Clean Feeders and Quality Food Matter’.
  • Keep shell debris at a minimum under your feeders. Accumulated shells may carry mold and mold can be deadly to ground feeding birds.

Shelter

  • Clean out your bird houses/nest boxes after each brood and they will nest again!! Cavity nesting birds have 2-3 broods a season. They prefer clean houses for each brood. See our resource, Placing and Maintaining Bird Houses.
  • Don’t prune during nesting season as most birds nest in dense shrubbery, bushes and trees. Please be aware and delay until Fall when possible. Wildlife rehabbers are seeing too many injured nestlings from pruning incidents.
  • Please, PLEASE don’t use pesticides, especially widespread spraying for mosquitoes. 
    Birds, including Hummingbirds,  feed their babies almost entirely on insects while they’re in the nest. 
    Pesticides kill all the beneficial insects and caterpillars, too! A healthy insect population is critical to a healthy backyard habitat. See our Earth Day blog post on more about pesticides and wild birds.
  • Some pesticides are now illegal in Montgomery County. See the Pesticide Law home page and MoCo’s extensive resources for organic lawn care.

Take Time to Relax and Enjoy

  • Don’t miss all the adorably awkward juvenile birds learning how to use your bird feeders and baths!

Thank you for continuing to support wild birds and our ongoing efforts here at the store. 

Happy Summer Birding!
Debi, Mike and The Backyard Naturalist Team