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A Word From The Birds

Jump to: Feeding Tips  |  Suet Tips

When we think of water we do not give it much thought, we want a drink we go to the sink and get a glass of water. We want to take a bath, we go take one. It is easy for us to get water when we want some or we need some, but the birds have it harder than that. They have to rely on Mother Nature for their water or hope that we put water out for them. Just like us, birds need water! They need it to drink, but they also need it to keep clean just like us. A clean bird is a warm and healthy bird. When you see a bird splashing in the water they are cleaning themselves.

In the summer when you see a bird splashing around in a bird bath if you keep watching them you will see them go find a perch in a sunning location. They find a place to perch then they fluff up their feathers and let them dry. Then you will see them start to carefully preen each father and as they go through this process they add a protective coat of oil to each feather. This helps them in many different ways; it protects them from the weather and from parasites. It keeps them cool in the warmer weather and warm it the cold weather. These are just some of the reasons birds need water and they depend on us to help them out in this area. Water is just as important to a bird as food and in some cases more important.

Providing water for the birds will improve the quality of your backyard habitat and will provide you with many opportunities to observe bird behavior. It will also bring birds to your yard that may not have come because of the feeders in your yard, but came because of the water. When thinking about water for the birds you need to think about the different ways you can offer water and what will work best for you and them. Here are a few things to think about, bird baths, misters, ponds, water falls, streams, and the area best for whatever you decide on.

The first and easiest for your yard is the bird bath. These come in three basic designs:

  • Pedestal They are the classics. They are about three to four foot tall and come in many different materials and styles.
  • Dish A simple saucer or shallow dish or bowl. These can be placed on the ground, on a fence or fence post, on a patio table, a stump, wherever you what to put it. Just do not put it under your feeder. You can even hang this style if you like.
  • Heated This kind is essential for our cold winters here in Ohio. It takes a great deal of energy for bird to get water from snow so if provide a heated bird bath you are sure to get visitors at your backyard.
The next water source is misters; these are a favorite of the hummingbirds. You will see hummingbirds hovering in a mister on a hot day, they love it. Misters also provide a source of moving water and this will catch the eye of other birds and bring them into you area. They can also be attached to other bird baths so you have a couple different water sources to attract the birds.

Ponds are another water source, but these need work and space. If your backyard is big enough and you have the time ponds are great.

Waterfalls are next on the list, but like ponds these are time consuming and need to be cared for in many different ways than bird baths.

Streams are very attractive to birds because of the moving water, but again these take space, time and work.

Take the time to think about what you want and where you are going to put your water source, no matter which one you choose and you will enjoy the many benefits of providing water for the birds.

I know I have given you a lot to think about, but adding some source of water to your birding area will bring you many hours of great bird watching enjoyment. As I close this letter I just want you to remember it is January, and it is winter here in Ohio, so the birds are counting on you to provide food and water for them. I talked a lot about water, but they still need you to feed them and maybe even think about providing some shelter for them. You can provide shelter by putting up nesting boxes or by hanging nesting pouches, or even leaving a brush pile or two here and there for them. There are so many things we can do for them. Remember also if you have questions or need supplies or have a story to share we are here for you. Hope to see you soon!

January Feeding Tips

 
Sprinkle extra white millet on the ground in a snow-free area for Juncos.

  • A good high-quality mix is almost always better this time of year for general feeding. Pick something with about 50% Black-Oily Sunflower, 40% White Millet, 5% Safflower, and 5% Shelled Peanuts.
  • In cold weather provide seed late in the day and early in the morning to help birds stay warm at night and get a burst of energy at dawn. Birds need food to stay warm.
  • Sprinkle extra White Millet on the ground in a snow-free area or on ground trays for Juncos, Towhees, and Sparrow species.
  • This time of year feed a heavy Black-Oil Sunflower seed mix for a higher fat content to help keep the birds warm.
  • This month think about adding seed blocks to your feeding routine. Use blocks with Sunflower and Nuts for a steady supply of food. Seed blocks last longer than some seeds so you do not have to go out as often.
  • Do not forget about feeding Dried Meal Worms and Dried Fruit, the birds will love you for it. Feed these mixed in with your seed or by themselves. Use a platform feeder for this.
  • Keep feeding the Nyjer seed. The Goldfinches are here all winter and they will be looking for this seed. You my even see a Pine Siskin at your feeder.
  • January can be very cold and that means the birds need your seed even more than ever. It can be mixes or blocks or just a single kind of seed, no matter what it is make sure it has a high fat content to help keep them warm.
  • Do not forget to join our bird seed club! It is a good way to get FREE stuff. Please remember the WATER!!

January Suet Tips

 
The Brown Creeper is one that you will start to see feeding on your suet.

  • Remember most birds love suet and it gives them the calories and energy they need as the nights get colder.
  • In colder weather feed suet in more than one location for more activity. Make sure you put one close to a window so you can watch the birds as they feed.
  • Feeding suet is the easiest way to increase the variety of birds visiting your yard this time of year.
  • In colder weather feed suet in more than one location for more activity. Make sure you put one close to a window so you can watch the birds as they feed.
  • If feeding for the first time, smear the feeder with Peanut Butter and then press Seed on to the Peanut Butter. Birds recognize the seed and then are attracted to the suet.
  • Remember to hang your suet feeders where the birds can find them and you can see them. Hang one right on the tree truck to attract Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Creepers these birds look for food on the trees bark.
  • Remember too that suet last longer than loose seed and is easy to feed and that means you can spend more time watching and less time going out in the cold.
  • Use Fatty Suets for they provide more calories to keep the birds warm in these cold, cold January nights.
  • Remember to join the Bird Seed Club. Last of all remember the Water!!!