3 Ideas for How To Help Birds in Winter

If you live in a climate where it gets cold and snowy for a large portion of the year, you may be interested in knowing how to help birds in winter.

Blue Jay in winter

Photo Source

If so, this article is for you.

Helping birds in winter can be a little more difficult than in spring, summer, or fall. What you do is really not much different when the snows fly though.

You might get your binoculars out while inside the house a little more often.

The ideas suggested below also apply to areas that get colder, even if there isn’t actually any snow.

So How Can I Help Birds in Winter?

Idea #1 – Keep your feeders well-supplied with food.

The consensus seems to be that (black oil) sunflower seeds are the preferred food you should provide.

I have noticed, even in the summer, that, if the birds have a choice between sunflower seeds and niger, they will gobble up the sunflower seeds first. They will go back to the niger, especially the finches, if the sunflower seed feeder is left empty long enough.

The main difference in a cold and snowy winter, of course, is that it’s more difficult for you to get to the feeders and fill them. You have to bundle yourself up, trudge through the snow, possibly clean snow off the feeders, fill them, and un-bundle yourself when you’re done.

Even if you do that as part of a trip outside for a different, additional reason, it can still feel like a lot of work.

That’s where your dedication to birding comes in. If you want to see those birds outside your window throughout the year, you’ll continue to give them a reason to visit.

Idea #2 – Give the birds a source of fresh water.

Some of you, like me, will find this idea too difficult to implement. But some of you won’t. Bully for you!

There are several possible solutions for giving fresh water to birds in winter. Obviously the main goal of all of them is keeping the water from freezing.

Even if you provide a birdbath in the warmer months, you’ll have to do more to make water available once the temperature dips below freezing.

The two very basic solutions to this are either to heat the water container (whatever that might be) or to place the container near something that stays warm enough in winter both day and night.

Idea #3 – Give shelter from the elements to the birds.

I don’t happen to have any birdhouses in my yard, but I wouldn’t be opposed to putting one up if I had the space for it.

Birdhouses, of course, are good the whole year around. Not only are they there for nesting purposes, but in winter they provide the shelter from the cold and wind that we’re talking about here.

There are other types of shelter than a formal birdhouse that you may be able to afford the birds. If you live in a wooded area, you might have the opportunity to construct something out of the natural trees and branches that would help the birds.

I don’t have any specific plans in mind here. Maybe you can get creative and let us know what you come up with.

There are certainly more ideas that are possible for keeping birds happy and healthy in winter, but these should be enough to get you started and thinking about more.

Gary Sonnenberg

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