Hearing the sounds of birds can certainly brighten up your day! Seeing them fluttering about in your yard, especially in the winter, is even better. We have some tips to help you attract birds to your yard this winter, keep them safe and coming back!
1. Choose the Right Food
Different birds prefer different food, some like seeds, other prefer protein. You can have many different feeders, with all kinds of food, or go with the most popular choices in the bird world - sunflower seeds and suet. These will attract chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, cardinals, finches, sparrows and woodpeckers.
2. Provide Shelter
Birds prefer to move from a sheltered area - to the bird feeders - and back again. Evergreens are a great option! Placing your bird feeders near evergreens gives the birds a protected place for them to go back and forth from while they feed.
3. Protect Them
The last thing you want to do is attract birds to your feeder, and make them an easy catch for your favorite feline (or your neighbours!) Domestic cats can kill hundreds of millions of birds every year. Consider keeping them inside or on a leash outside, making sure that is short enough to prevent them from reaching the birds. Place bird feeders up high and away from any fences or other areas where cats, or other predators, can hide or pounce from. The Ontario SPCA has more information on keeping cats indoors.
4. Keep it Clean and Tidy
Bird feeders should be checked for broken parts and cleaned on a regular basis. Molds, rot and disease can quickly build up in a neglected feeder, putting bird health at risk. Broken parts can trap, injure or even kill visiting birds. To clean your feeders, soak the bird feeder in a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water twice a month (more often if you have a lot of bird traffic). Avoid household cleaners which can leave residue that is toxic to birds. For more information visit Wild Birds Unlimited.
5. Provide More than Food
Birds need more than bird seed to survive. Providing shelter, nesting boxes, plant material (don`t clean up the garden in the fall) and mature trees are all important habitat for our feathered friends in the winter.
Written by Aileen Barclay #teamfrankie