Minnesota’s grey sky and snowy white color are undeniably majestic. Still, cabin fever from cold temperatures and short days without much light can make our winter environment feel a bit dreary.
Thankfully, nature provides birds to add excitement and a range of lovely hues to help us stave off the winter doldrums.
It is spectacular to see the bright red of a cardinal in the deep winter. Proper landscaping and winter preparation of your yard can help attract cardinals and other avian visitors all winter long.
Landscape with The Right Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs are ideal places for birds to nest, to shelter during winter storms and to seek safety from predators. Also, some trees and shrubs provide natural food sources for birds, even during the long winter months.
Work with your landscaping team on the right design to attract and feed birds all winter long. Communicating your desire to see lots of birds in the winter will help your landscapers create the best individual plan for your yard.
Work with your landscaping team too on an individualized landscaping maintenance plan to help protect trees and shrubs that provide natural food in winter to ensure you maintain them properly.
In deep winter, when food is scarce, birds are more attracted to bird feeders. Bird feeders are a perfect option for bird watchers too.
To make the most of your winter bird feeders consider the following:
Types of Feeders
Large capacity bird feeders ensure less frequent refills, an especially helpful feature in very cold or heavy snow periods. Large capacity feeders also provide plentiful food for your birds, even during extended vacations.
Look for well-covered bird feeders. The best options are those where birds can fly in and eat while covered. Heavy cover in bird feeders helps to protect birds from wind, snow, winter storms and predators.
Clean bird feeders between feedings. In winter months mold, mildew and other grime can grow in bird feeders. There are instances of these materials leading to illness, and in some cases death, in birds, so it is vital to clean your bird feeder thoroughly and adequately.
Do not refill your bird feeder after cleaning until it is entirely dry.
Find the Perfect Spot
Ensure the bird feeder is visible from your favorite bird watching window. Avoid birds flying into your home windows by placing feeders at least five feet from your home.
When at all possible, place feeders near trees and bushes, this will provide cover from predators and a place to rest between feedings.
Winter is challenging for birds. To give them the energy they need, be sure to fill your feeder with food that has high fat or oil content. Take into consideration the bird species in your area to choose the best birdseed for your winter bird population.
Avoid a messy spring cleanup of the hull by looking for no-waste seed mixes, like pre-hulled sunflower seeds.
Consider shoveling around your feeder so ground birds can easily access dropped foods and, simultaneously, clean your yard. Or, consider a snow service to help you create an easy-to-maintain bird sanctuary.
Heated Bird Baths
Water is a critical component of attracting and feeding birds. Heated bird baths with thermostats are an ideal way, even in the coldest winter months, to provide a fresh water supply for all birds.
No need to worry about birds jumping in the water and freezing, as birds naturally understand that winter bird baths are not for bathing, but rather for drinking.
Like bird feeders, it is important to keep bird baths clean and well maintained. Monthly maintenance is sufficient for ensuring clean and healthy water.
The Last Word
In the quiet of winter, nature reveals itself in the most surprising ways. Great landscaping and preparation will attract birds to your yard and create moments of wonder all winter long.