GardenSMART :: Fall Into Winter and Start the Bird Feeding Frenzy
Fall Into Winter and Start the Bird Feeding Frenzy
By Cole's Wild Bird Products
Photographs courtesy of Cole's Wild Bird Products
Fall is traditionally the season that starts the bird feeding "year." More people feed birds than watch football, baseball or any other sport, or participate in any other outdoor activity. That's right. Bird feeding is "in." More than 65 million Americans are doing it, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bird feeding is in, and it's easy to see why. Attracting birds to your backyard is a relatively low-cost way to relax, enjoy nature and beautify your winter surroundings. And people of virtually all ages and levels of physical ability can do it.
The majority of North American birds suffer from loss of habitat. Investment in avian habitat will return valuable dividends for birds and tons of backyard enjoyment for us. Now, as a new season is just beginning, is a perfect time to get started.
To attract the widest variety of birds, landscape your property with plants that offer birds cover and natural foods, and always provide a source of water.
Need for Feeders
When the ground is covered with snow and ice, it's hard to resist just tossing seed out the door. But it's healthier for the birds to get their "hand-outs" at a feeding station, off the ground. Food that sits on the ground for even a short time is exposed to potential contamination by dampness, mold, bacteria, animal droppings, lawn fertilizers and pesticides.
Sometimes it can seem like forever before birds notice a new feeder. Be patient and they will eventually come. And remember, if you fill your feeder only after it's been empty for a while, the birds will look for food elsewhere. They'll return as long as you continue to fill it.
Start by offering a variety of feeders. Different species prefer different styles of feeders. Tube feeders are versatile and appeal to a wide range of bird species. They can also handle large (think sunflower) or small seeds (like petite mixes) equally well. Some birds prefer to cling to feeders while dining, rather than perch, so use a versatile Mesh feeder; or try a Bowl feeder, perfect for serving suet in kibble form, dried mealworms and fresh fruit. You can find a variety of feeders from Cole's, not only are they pretty to look at, but they're weather-resistant as well. All of Cole's classic, high quality tubular and specialty feeders are made to last with state-of-the-art materials that prevent warping and discoloration.
Be sure to keep all feeders clean and in good condition to help prevent disease and injury. Cole's makes cleaning feeders easy with a Quick Clean™ removable base.
Winter Feed and Seed: Food for Fat
Winter weather is hard on birds. Their calorie requirements increase, food becomes hard to find, snow covers up seeds, and ice storms seal away the tree buds and wild fruits. Tiny birds must eat a third- to three-quarters of their weight each day. When the temperature dips below zero, easy meals at a feeder can mean the difference between life and death.
It's important to stock your feeder with high-quality food that will provide birds with the most fat, nutrients and energy. Look for a feed like Cole's that is nutritious, preserves freshness, and gives you the most feed for your dollar. Cole's Oil Sunflower is over 99 percent pure and is cleaned more than four times to ensure there are more seeds and fewer sticks in each bag. The feed is also nitrogen-purge packaged, just like potato chips, to ensure freshness and insect-free feed.
Birds love suet. It's the solid fat rendered from beef, venison, or vegetables that provides concentrated energy to help birds make it through freezing winter days and nights.
Cole's Wild Bird Products offers a good selection of suet cakes formulated to attract the largest variety and number of wild birds as well as specific bird species. Since not all wild birds favor seed, serving up suet also ensures the attention of beautiful, non-seed eating birds.
To cater to seed-loving birds, try Cole's Nutberry Suet Blend. It's a unique seed blend mix of premium human-grade cherries, apples and blueberry-flavored cranberries, preferred nuts, nutritious insect suet kibbles, and whole kernel sunflower meats. It appeals to both fruit and insect-loving songbirds. Check out the many seed choices Cole's has to offer.
Birds, like humans, do have food preferences. Feed them what they like and they'll keep coming back for more.
By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Patio Veggies & Herbs
Photographs by Pamela Crawford
Pamela has written a great article about mixing herbs in containers. Herbs are natural companions with different textures for interest. The herb mix of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme offers lots of flavor from a small combination loaded with textural interest.
To learn more, click here .
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