Birding In A Winter Wonderland
Birds & Blooms|December 2021/January 2022
There's no need to go into hibernation this season. Use these easy tricks to see even more fliers when the mercury drops.
By Ken Keffer

Feeder activity isn't F always consistent throughout the year. You may notice an uptick in guests in the winter, because a lot of natural food is frozen or hidden under blankets of snow. Birds are generally less territorial in the nonbreeding season, too, so they are more tolerant of sharing space at the feeder.

So it's time to top off the seed supply, pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy the snow birds with these top tips and tricks for winter bird-watching.


Many birds grow extra down feathers in winter. The puffed-up feathers provide insulation against the elements. Yet winter is still a battle for survival for birds. Feeders with high-fat foods such as suet and peanuts give feathered friends a boost. Woodpeckers are especially fond of these calorie-rich treats, so to attract them to your yard, consider a double suet feeder or one a with a long tail prop that allows them to use their tails as a tripod as they feed. Planting native berry-producing shrubs also provides much-needed nutrients for many species as winter settles in.


Water is an especially attractive offering that entices birds during the colder months. Adding a heater keeps your birdbath from icing over, giving birds a dependable place to drink (although they won't use it like a birdie hot tub to warm up). Beyond the backyard, natural areas with open water are magnets for birds in winter. Congregations of waterfowl flock to large rivers and coastal areas. Use your car as a portable blind while you scope for large groups of cold-tolerant ducks, geese and swans.


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