Friday, October 23, 2009

Add life and color to your winter landscape: Attract wild birds to your backyard

(ARA) - Feeding wild birds is an easy way to add a splash of color and song to your outdoor living space this winter, plus help the birds thrive through the toughest season for them. Attracting birds to your backyard is as easy as setting out bird feeders filled with quality food.

In fact, winter is a perfect time to feed wild birds, as a variety of species, including dark-eyed juncos and native sparrows, migrate south. Other species such as cardinals, woodpeckers and goldfinches will stay around through the winter and will be eager to frequent feeders where they find a ready, steady supply of food. Feeding wild birds not only brings a little life to your backyard during the cooler months, but also helps the birds thrive through the winter, so they – like you – will be ready to enjoy spring when it arrives.

Getting started is simple:

* Offer a feeding station that consists of a birdfeeder filled with a quality seed mix. Choose a blend that is specially formulated to attract a variety of birds. Ingredients should include bird favorites like black oil sunflower, thistle and peanuts, which are attractive to a wide range of birds including cardinals, chickadees, finches, native sparrows and more. Feeding a premium wild bird food like Scotts Songbird Selections ensures birds will get adequate energy and nutrition to help weather the winter. Visit www.scottswildbirdfood.com to learn more about feeding wild birds.

* Choose a feeder appropriate for the type of seed blend you are feeding. Common types include covered or open platforms for any size seed blend, cylinders or tubes for small seeds, and a hopper or “house” style to hold larger seeds like sunflower. You can easily make your own bird feeder, or purchase one of the many types available in home improvement, hardware and other mass retail stores.

To attract even more birds:

* Offer more than one feeder with different foods to give birds with varying feeding preferences options and ensure you attract a variety of species.

* In addition to a variety of quality seed blends, consider offering suet as well. Birds use a lot of energy, especially in the winter, and suet is the high-energy snack that can help keep them going through the tough times. Rich in calories because it’s primarily made of fat, suet attracts woodpeckers, chickadees and many other species. Some suet, like Scotts Songbird Selections Multi-Bird Suet with Fruit and Nuts, is embedded with other treats birds love, such as seeds, nuts or dried fruit. Present the suet in a wire cage. The birds will cling to the cage and peck at the suet through the gaps.

Other tips for winter feeding:

* If you live in a region that receives significant snow accumulation, make sure feeders are raised high enough off the ground to escape the snow buildup. Place feeders close to the house in locations with a good view from a favorite window. If possible, keep feeders a short bird’s flight from the cover of protective trees, to help birds feel more secure when feeding.

* Wild birds have a particularly hard time finding fresh water in the winter. Consider adding a few heated birdbaths to your backyard landscape. Heated baths, many with thermostatic controls, are available in most home improvement, hardware and bird specialty stores.

* If you’re worried about squirrels raiding and damaging your feeder, consider feeding them too. Offer something the squirrels will find even more enticing than bird food – like corn – and they’ll be less inclined to visit your birdfeeder.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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