Have you noticed a lot of wild birds looking in your window or gathering on the roof of your carport or shed? If so, they're trying to send you a message: "We're hungry!" Birds need to consume extra fat and protein during the cold months in order to produce enough energy to stay warm. Today, I have some suggestions for what to feed your feathered visitors this winter.
- Suet: Suet contains a lot of fat that helps wild birds to stay warm in freezing temperatures. You can purchase a premade suet block or get creative and make your own! Suet doesn't look all that appetizing to us humans, but most birds love it!
- Peanuts: A feeder that includes de-shelled, unsalted nuts provides a large dose of protein and energy to the birds in your area. They are a special favorite with blue jays, woodpeckers, and chickadees.
- Black Oil Sunflower Seed: This type of seed contains a large portion of fat and protein. You can either put a supply of black oil sunflower seed in one feeder or include it in a mixture. This seed is easy to break open, so it appeals to robins, cardinals, finches, and many other types of birds.
- Cracked Corn: You may have to go to a feed store or a store that specializes in wild bird seed to find cracked corn. It attracts ground feeders of all kinds, including doves, sparrows, and jays. Don't be surprised if you see some squirrels trying to get in on the fun right alongside the birds. Hey, they get hungry, too!
- Thistle Seed: Thistle is a tiny type of seed that fits nicely into a sock or mesh feeder. Finches are big fans of thistle seed, and you'll likely see several chowing down at your feeder at one time.
- Safflower: Do you like to see those brilliant red cardinals show up at your place? If so, put some safflower in your feeder. This seed is tempting to cardinals along with house finches, blue jays, grosbeaks, and chickadees.
- White Proso Millet: Look for this seed in a mixture for your winter bird feeder. It has protein, fat, and fiber that can help wild birds this time of year.
- Mealworms: What? Yes, mealworms supply wild birds with fat during the cold weather months. You can buy them at bait shops and put some out in an old glass bowl filled with rolled oats. Chickadees, thrushes, wrens, and bluebirds are all fans of mealworms.
- Dried Fruit: Dried cranberries, blueberries, and apricots are all beneficial additions to a seed mixture. They add a little something different (and tasty) to the typical offering.
- Striped Sunflower Seeds: These seeds are a familiar sight in many seed mixtures available in stores. They provide energy and are appealing to a variety of birds.
As long as you're offering food to your feathered friends, consider giving them a water source as well. A birdbath heater is easy to set up and maintains a warm temperature. With an appealing bird feeder and swirling birdbath, your yard will be the most popular stop in town this winter! Thanks for reading. - Alan