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cardinal in winter

3 Ways to Protect Birds in The Winter Months

We all miss the beautiful songs of birds in the spring and summer, but now that winter is here, there are some days that we rarely see them.

During harsh winter weather, there are easy ways you can protect and help the birds in your landscape and neighborhood.

PC: C Gleason

Provide Food

The best way you can help birds in your area is by making sure you put food out early in the morning. Birds typically eat as soon as they wake up because they used all of their energy through the night to stay warm. Since they used so much energy to stay warm, they are weak and tired in the morning and seek to find food right away. You can set out food right before bed or wake up early and set out a breakfast for them!

PC: Salomé Guruli on Unsplash

Some of the best food to give them a boost of energy are peanuts, black-oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, mealworms, or any good mixture of seed. If you buy bags of bird seed, look at the ingredients before purchasing to make sure you’re not buying a bad seed mixture. A bad mixture includes filler or junk seeds that the birds will not eat. A good mixture includes large amounts of sunflower seeds, cracked corn, white proso millet, and even peanut hearts!

Provide Fresh Water

With winter, comes frozen water. It can be hard for birds to find fresh water due to the freezing temperatures. They often will have to wait for small amounts of ice to melt during the afternoons, but another great way to help the birds in your landscape is making sure there is always fresh water for them to drink.

Consider purchasing a heated birdbath to keep the water from freezing during the day. If heated bird baths are out of your price range, there are still ways you can support your local birds! Consider placing your bird bath in a place that you can easily access; maybe right by your door step or on your patio. This way you can periodically check your birdbath during the day and break up any ice that is forming or refill when the water is frozen solid.

cardinal in winter

Provide Shelter

The winter winds get harsh and too cold for anyone, especially small birds. If you don’t want to build or buy birdhouses, place a small stick pile in the corner of your landscape for birds to grab and reinforce their nests to help shield them from the wind.

If you would like to purchase a roosting house or simple bird house, you can place them throughout your landscape, providing birds with a completely sheltered area to stay in during the winter. You can also buy nesting materials to help support them as well. Nesting materials are often small fibers that look a little like cotton stuffing. This will give them a reliable material that they can place in their nests to block wind and provide a cozy spot to curl up in.

Cavity Nest in Tree

Helping your local birds year-round will ensure that they will successfully overwinter in your neighborhood or even be inviting for more types of birds to visit! It’s important to help the birds in your landscape during the winters so they can stay healthy and strong once spring comes around so they can raise their young.

Protecting habitats and supporting local wildlife is not only for the summer, but also for the chillier months as well. Visit Green Bay Botanical Garden to experience Habitat and learn how you can help the birds in your landscape year-round!