Cold Weather Cuisine
Birds & Blooms|December 2021/January 2022
Choose high-energy foods to keep backyard birds well fed during winter.
By Amy Grisak

Foraging is tough business with snow on the ground, which is why our wintertime bird visitors benefit from high-energy food options.

Even during subzero conditions, birds have special ways of keeping warm. Some fliers, such as finches and chickadees, pack on as much as 10% body fat from eating berries and insects in fall to build up their winter stores.

But many visitors appreciate an extra food boost. Plan ahead to keep your backyard birds fed when the weather turns cool.

Top-Tier Seeds

“When the weather is colder, the birds appreciate those fatty seeds, says Emma Greig, project leader for Project FeederWatch at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She notes that fat is critical to meet birds' caloric needs.

“An easy bird feed is black oil sunflower seeds,” Emma says. The seed is popular with most birds that winter in the northern regions and is typically easy to find in feed stores or even grocery stores.

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