The Great Frozen Feeding (And Bathing) Frenzy is On!!!


Female Cardinal visits Debi & Mike’s backyard feeder during Snowmageddon 2010!

Ever notice the worse the weather, the more birds visit your feeders?

I’ll bet your wild bird feeders are as frenetically busy as ours are at the moment. In this extremely cold, windy and snowy weather this is good news!

Our birds really need the sustenance right now, and we can all help by keeping our feeders up and constantly stocked with high energy foods like Black Oil Sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet.

Winter is tough. Birds suffer a higher mortality when temperatures turn colder. Natural food and water sources may be buried under ice and snow. Although wild birds have adapted with a multitude of ways to survive the cold, these warm-blooded creatures with their high-metabolism will require even more calories to stay warm.

WATER!!! Often forgotten, but just as important… Fresh, unfrozen water sources are CRITICAL! Birds bathe in the cold to keep feathers preened for essential insulation. Not to mention that eating all that bird seed would make anybody thirsty!

Yesterday, a worried birder came in to The Backyard Naturalist for a heater after seeing a forlorn Chickadee frantically trying to peck through the ice in her frozen bird bath! (No guilt there!) We do have some tips on how to keep water thawed for our backyard birds, but save yourself the hassle and get a heated bird bath or a heater for your existing bird bath. People, we’re not talking about creating decadent jacuzzis or high class spa resorts, we’re talking about fresh, not frozen, easily-accessible water.

It really warms our own hearts to see so that many people in our area are concerned and taking action.


The Backyard Naturalist’s Extreme Weather Prep List:

    1. Start by adding just one more “B” item to your extreme weather shopping list. Ours looks something like this:
      1. Bird Seed
      2. Beer
      3. Bird Seed
      4. Bathroom Tissue
      5. Bird Seed
      6. Batteries
      7. Bird Seed

Yes, we’re obsessed. But in a good way. For a good reason. Carry on!

  1. Clean bird feeders and if needed, you can zip-tie feeders to their poles or hooks for extra stability against wind gusts.
  2. Keep a close watch on feed levels. You will need to refill more often, especially when the ground is covered with snow.
  3. And when the ground is covered, don’t forget the ground feeders! Screened tray feeders work really well for this.
  4. Fresh, unfrozen water is critical. A heated bird bath or a simple heater added to your year round bird bath will lure lots of appreciate guests and go a long way to help birds survive.
  5. Keep those bird houses up! Birds will seek shelter in the darnedest places. They’ll hunker down in hedgerows, thickets, natural tree cavities, bird houses serving as roost boxes, under decks, porches, roofs… If you haven’t cultivated that evergreen hedgerow yet (A-hem! Time’s a-wastin’!), one fast way to get shelter for birds is to build a brush pile in a quiet part of your backyard. Check out this link for a how-to guide.
  6. Protect feeders and shelters from predators. They are hungry, too! Keep your cats indoors, despite how much they may hassle you to let them out into the blizzard…

So, in a nutshell:
Food, Water, Shelter. Every season, but especially winter.

We’ll be rewarded soon with glimpses of colorful spring plumage and the first trills of mating calls… After all, the best part of Winter is that Spring is not far behind!

Stay warm and happy birding,
Debi Klein


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