When it comes to feeding the birds, keeping the backyard safe ensures a healthy, active, and diverse environment for feathered friends to enjoy.
- Periodically check feeders for damage, particularly after winter storms.
- Keep feeders clean, even in poor conditions, to prevent the spread of disease among wild birds.
- Keep birdbaths filled with fresh, clean water. Add a heater to the bath or a de-icing basin for winter use.
Things to Note When Installing Feeders
- Keep feeders a fair distance from windows (approximately 3 – 4 meters from glass).
- Use anti-collision stickers on the exterior of windows to prevent bird strikes.
- Choose locations that provide shelter from weather and predators, yet in view from inside your home.
- Clean feeders regularly and replace feed after wet weather conditions to avoid an unhealthy environment for birds.
- Keep feeders clear of debris so not to attract unwanted critters.
Help Birds During Severe Weather
It is not necessary to worry about how birds keep warm during winter. Birds have many adaptations that help them survive even the coldest days. However, mortality rates do rise during prolonged and severe weather conditions such as ice storms. Birders can help offset these rates by offering feathered friends high quality winter food, shelter from poor weather, and easy access to clean, fresh water. In turn, this strengthens bird’s ability to survive colder temperatures by enabling them to conserve precious energy reserves.
- Provide Quality Food and Stock Feeders Early. Offering quality winter foods high in fat and calories provide birds with the energy they use to generate body heat. On colder winter days, birds need to immediately replenish energy reserves used to stay warm overnight. Especially during cold snaps, fill feeders in the early morning to ensure birds don’t have far to go.
- Provide Clean, Fresh Water. Birds can melt snow to drink however this lowers their body temperature and uses valuable energy reserves used maintain body heat. Offering water in heated birdbaths or basins provide an especially helpful resource during challenging conditions.
- Offer Shelter. Give birds a way to escape poor weather conditions such as wind and snow by making a brush pile, keeping bird houses up and roosting boxes out. Long term consider planting evergreen trees, native trees, and bushes for natural protection against the elements.