IS YOUR BACK YARD FOR THE BIRDS????
I recall a snowy Christmas morning a few years ago where out our kitchen window there were 15-20 Cardinals in the Crab Apple Tree feeding on shriveled up fruits that were still present. It was beautiful; and provided much added enjoyment to our morning.
“Our yards and gardens can be a much-needed sanctuary for wild birds to survive tough Iowa winters”. says Jim O’Loughlin of All American Turf Beauty
“Our cold Iowa winters with consistent snow and ice cover are tough on birds. You can make a huge difference by feeding and caring for wild birds. Not only will you benefit from the beauty and enjoyment the birds bring to your yard; feeding them may be the difference in whether they survive the winter” Says O’Loughlin “Winter storms, with deep snow, cuts off many birds from their natural food supplies and can actually cause them to starve by the thousands and even millions. Actively feeding the birds can make a real contribution to their survival and even thriving during the winter months”.
Birds need shelter – Birds like to feel protected and secure, and if they are uncertain about the safety of an area they will not visit it regularly. By adding more shelter to your back yard, you entice them to stop by.
A few suggestions to get you started creating a winter sanctuary for our feathered friends:
- Opt for bird friendly landscaping that features native plants in tiers or clumps to provide familiar shelter for the birds.
- Add new plants to an unused section of the yard, or increase the density of existing plants for more cover.
- Try to choose trees and shrubs with seeds and fruits the birds will enjoy as natural food sources.
- Add a few bird houses to your yard to give small birds a safe place to settle in on a cold night.
- Brush piles made up of tree and shrub pruning’s or a used Christmas tree will also provide much needed shelter.
Supplement natural foods by feeding – Use multiple feeders to provide ample food, especially during snow and ice storms. Many nurseries and garden centers sell excellent bird feeders. There are even bird-specific stores with all the supplies you need. Also check your local farm center.
- There are nutritious seeds for winter feeding such as; black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, niger seed and white millet seed. Mixed seed bags or bulk seed can be purchased.
- Birds benefit from fatty foods also. They burn more calories in the winter just to stay warm. Suet is considered a high energy food because it consists of fat that has 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates or protein. Peanut Butter is also popular with our flying friends but is more expensive than suet. Suet feeders are a favorite of woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds.
- Keep bird feeders full. Winter birds need to stock up on calories especially for those long, cold winter nights.
Be consistent! Birds grow accustomed to your feeders especially in severe weather when the snacks you offer may mean their very survival.
- Birds can become dehydrated in the winter months. They can get their water from ice and snow, but a liquid water source will attract dozens of birds in the cold. Add a small heater attachment to your existing birdbath to keep water thawed.
- Keep snow below feeders packed down. Ground-feeding birds such as Juncos, Doves and many Sparrows will be able to gather up the seed that drop from the feeders if they don’t have deep snow to try to manage.
- Cleanliness counts. Your feeders can get a little grimy. Because natural food sources are scarcer in the winter, more birds may be attracted to backyard feeders and those feeders will need to be cleaned with some hot water and dried a few times during the season.
- Caring for the birds in your yard will add hours of enjoyment and beauty this winter, and will make you feel better knowing you made a huge difference to your feathered friends.
In case you don’t have time to maintain your lawn and take care of the birds that live around it, we might be able to help you with that. Just dial +1-800-365-8873 and schedule an appointment with our lawn care professionals.