Winter is for the birds…in a manner of speaking of course! Winter is the best time to start feeding the wild birds, particularly during times of snow. Ideally, put out a feeder before winter weather hits to ensure the birds know where to find food and to help them pack on the calories when it’s easier for them to get around. Songbirds use fat stores to help them keep warm overnight, and during the day they frantically go hunting to replenish those stores. Some birds, such as the Chickadee, will eat more the 35% of the weight in food each day during the winter!
During times of winter weather, it can be quite difficult for backyard birds to find food. The snow will usually cover a lot of the areas where birds forage for food, which means they exert more energy finding food than normal. Additionally, it can be harder for them to navigate through the air due to wind and precipitation. By providing them with a feeder, you’re giving them access to a readily available food source that is easy to find.
In addition to a feeder, or feeders if you’re like some of us, consider setting up a water source for your birds! This can be as simple as keeping a shallow dish filled with warm water (takes longer to freeze) during the day, or as high-tech as a fully heated bird bath. Regardless, the important thing is to keep it fresh and keep it thawed. This can be very helpful when daytime temperatures are below freezing, but there’s no snow on the ground.