With the start of winter, our feathered friends might need a little help making it through till spring.
Bird Feeding is a fun and relaxing hobby that can provide you with hours of enjoyment. It's always a good idea to put the feeder in a very visible and easily accessible place for filling. If you can't see the feeder, you won't know when it needs refilling.
We are lucky here in our area because we have such a wide variety of birds that live here year round, as well as many migrating species.
Birds, like people, have certain foods that they prefer, but they are not going to starve just because you don't have their favorite food in your feeder!
Most song birds prefer Black Oil Sunflower Seed. The large kernel and the high oil content help to insulate the birds from the cold. An alternative is Safflower Seed, which is a little smaller seed, white in color, that has both oil and a kernel inside. Some birds will eat shell and all so it could be considered a "low mess" seed. Another advantage of using Safflower is that squirrels don't like the taste, and will usually find something else to eat.
Nyjer or Thistle is mainly for finches and other small song birds, it is a small seed that also has a high oil content. The reason this seed is not called Thistle anymore is because "thistle" is a noxious weed and banned in a number of states. Nyjer is the botanical name and is not invasive.
It is important to note that not all birds eat seed. Robins, mockingbirds, woodpeckers and others to not eat seed. They usually look for insects or worms when weather permits, but their beaks lack the strength to crack seeds, so these birds need fruit, berries, or suet over the winter. There are many different types of suet, some with fruit, some with nut pieces, some plain suet. Suet will give birds the fat needed to help ward-off freezing temperatures.
Corn is also used as bird seed and is available as cracked and whole ear corn. Corn is mostly for doves, and squirrels.
Even though it may sometimes seem like your feeding the squirrels more than birds, remember that they have a role in our ecosystem and they need food too!