It’s getting cold, the leaves are falling and winter is coming at us full speed. The garden is starting to look pretty bleak right about now. If you see green in your garden, it’s probably that pine tree, the only blotch of color left. No butterflies, no dragonflies, no hummingbirds – all that’s left is either a howling wind or silence. Unless you’re living in a tropical climate, the lifelessness of a winter garden can be quite depressing. But there’s good news – we can change that!
Help Our Feathered Friends
Many birds like the Dark-Eyed Junco, the Bohemian Waxwing, the Red Cardinal, Robins, Woodpeckers and Sparrows stay with us throughout winter. However, it’s not always easy for them to find food in winter. That’s where we come in. By setting up decorative birdfeeders we not only enhance our gardens looks, we bring it to life with the fluttering of wings and chirps of grateful birds.
It doesn’t take much to prepare a cozy spot to attract birds. The most important thing to keep in mind is your feline friend, if you have one, or your neighbor’s if you don’t. House cats or feral cats are, by nature, attracted to birds. Not because of their nutritional value, but because they are drawn to the movement and love the hunt. To keep the house tigers at bay, it’s best to use a bird feeder that can be suspended in an elevated spot or hoisted on a slim pole, that cats have difficulty reaching. Since it’s really fun to watch the birds feed, choose a location close to one of your windows. This way you won’t have to brave the cold to watch them.
What to feed
There are many varieties of ready mixed bird seed that you can fill into your feeder. You can also offer your own mix. Birds love nuts, seeds, raisins, dried fruits and bread crumbs. Just be sure to make the pieces relatively small so they will accessible through the feeder. If you have leftover toast from the morning, crumble it into small pieces and offer that as well. If there’s bacon grease left in the skillet, drop the crumbled toast into that. They love the grease, which is good for them in winter. The other thing our birds will have trouble coming by, once it freezes, is water. Making sure they always have liquid h2O will make them even more grateful.
Make it a Game
If you have children or grandchildren bird watching can be a very entertaining occupation. Invite them to watch the different birds and to distinguish between them. Let them make a bird book, where they can make drawings of the birds they see. Once you have taught them about a bird, quiz them next time around, asking them to name the birds. Not only are you keeping them busy, they are learning something about their environment. When they’re out and about in summer they will be able to recognize the birds they’ve come to know during the winter and it will give them a better feel for nature and their surroundings.
With a little effort you can turn your garden or backyard into a bird meeting hub, bringing it back to life with sight and sound. Enjoy your colorful visitors!