Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Attract & Re-Attract Winter Birds

Keeping your feeders filled will provide a dependable food source to augment the natural foods birds find. If filling feeders becomes more of a chore than a fun break in your day, consider adding a larger feeder that doesn’t require filling as often.

With the advent of the new year, it’s a good time to renew our interest in our feeding stations to keep attracting the birds we enjoy day to day, and keep benefitting them as our coldest days of winter arrive – even in the Sunbelt. The bottom line is to keep your bird feeders well-stocked, and keep in mind, it’s not necessary to wait until a feeder is empty to fill it up. Then, make sure you are providing all the right options to be sure yours is the best yard for birds to stop over. Start by providing sunflower seeds, suet, thistle seeds, and fresh water during the winter season up north.

Same for the Sunbelt really, and a nectar feeder would be appropriate from southern California to south Texas and southern Louisiana – even if you don’t get hummingbirds. Other birds also appreciate sugar-water treats, including House Finches, and it’s never too early to prepare for the arrival of orioles. In fact, you may have some winter orioles in south Texas and Florida, and who knows what other birds will react to a little flash of red when you put your hummingbird feeder out. Providing fresh water is a lot easier in the southland – no heaters required. Water attracts the greatest variety of birds – and it’s cheap and easy to provide.

Overall, the idea is to attract and benefit interesting birds, and to keep them coming. Some birds may spend the season with you, others may stop for a day. But the potential of attracting short-stop winter visitors is a good option to be sure. An important element of feeding birds is to feed them year-round, not just during cold-weather seasons. Summer actually brings some of the most interesting and most colorful birds to our yard, and it helps to keep birds coming non-stop throughout the year.

As for your yard, it’s always good to plan ahead to the planting season, to select and even order new flowering plants, especially those with red blooms, and bushes and trees that produce flowers, berries, and small fruits. These plants will also provide cover for birds – even roost sites and nesting locations in the case of trees and bushes. You can easily balance your gardening, landscaping, and birding interests to help attract new birds to your property.

When turning your attention to landscaping, consider a bigger, better water feature, maybe even including 2 levels with a simple waterfall running from one shallow pool to another. You can plan it as a natural-looking landscaping feature to fit in with other elements in your yard, or as a somewhat industrial or artistic water feature – a stand alone eye-catcher.

Then too, keep the safety of the birds in mind, safety from cats and window hazards primarily. And always keep your feeders, bird bath or water feature, and the area around your feeding station clean – winter, summer, spring, or fall. We all appreciate the thrill of attracting new birds and welcoming regular visitors to our yards, while keeping our backyard birding exploits attractive to our family, neighbors, and visitors. Enjoy your 2022 birding exploits throughout the year.

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