Winter is coming….not just a famous quote from hit show and book series Game of Thrones, but also the truth! Cooler weather has descended upon Northeast PA and we know that means frigid temps will be here soon. Cold weather is not just a pain in the neck for us, but can be a hazard for our bird friends that don’t fly south for the winter.
Water is not only important for hydration, but it also helps birds preen their feathers. Without proper preening, birds’ feathers won’t stay positioned and aligned. Feathers out of alignment in winter create gaps in insulation, which makes birds lose body heat faster.
To help provide fresh water to birds over during the winter months, make sure your bird bath is always full and has a heating element to keep the water from freezing. You can purchase heating elements at hardware store or online. Many of these units turn on and off automatically depending on the temperature outside.
Water is the most important thing you can provide for winter visitors, but food is a close second. Birds bodies require more calories during winter months to keep them warm. Seeds, plants, berries and insects won’t be around for birds to feast on. Many birds look for reliable feeders during the harsh winter months. You can help by providing feeders with Suet, Nyjer thistle seed and black sunflower seed. The more often you keep the food stocked, the more often you will enjoy watching your feathery friends this winter.
Birds do like to keep warm and out of the snow in the winter. While some birds grow extra feathers or drop their body temperature to stay warm, others needs a warm place to hide. Providing birds with a small house to rest will keep them happy and safe all winter long. You can help by leaving your bird houses outside in the winter and cleaning out all of the debris from the breeding season.
We all enjoy watching the birds fly around our garden during the spring and summer, but don’t forget to care for them all year round. Providing fresh water, food and shelter will keep the birds coming back to your yard over and over again.
Some information for this post came from http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=2060.