With Thanksgiving upon us, most of our kitchen shelves are being filled with the bounty of the season. At this time of the year, we tend to have more cranberries than we could eat throughout the whole year, enough potatoes to feed a small country and who could forget the enormous bird (or tofurkey) gently tucked into the freezer. I can’t help but draw the parallel between our stocking of the pantry shelves for this annual event to that of the little wild creatures filling up their dens with the seasons nuts, seeds and other goodies that they’ll need to get them through the harsh winter.
Birds are hit especially hard in the winter. Unfortunately for them, a quick trip to the local grocery store won’t restock the dwindling supplies as the winter progresses and food sources become more and more scarce. Insects that make up a large part of the Spring and Summer diet have died off or become dormant, winter berries will eventually become covered with snow in many parts of the country and seed/nut production has halted for the next several months. So while you may associate feeding wild birds with the warmer months, I hope that you’ll see Winter really is a great season for feeding birds and even better for bird watching (from your cozy, warm living room of course).
Feeding the birds doesn’t have to be expensive either! There are lots of things that you probably have laying around the house that you can use as bird feeders. I made a very simple bird feeder this past Spring that really is as easy as gluing a bowl on top of an old vase (or candlestick, lamp base, anything you can dream up).
You’ll want to use a caulk gun and 100% silicone (used to waterproof bathtub seams, etc) to hold your pieces together as it is waterproof and holds like a charm. For the winter months you might consider using an old resin/plastic flower pot with a metal pie plate or the plastic water pan from your flower pot as the food dish. Ceramic can crack with freezing temperatures.
There are lots of other great reuse ideas for feeding wild birds on the web that you can get the whole family involved in:
- Pinecone Bird Feeders
- Bird Feeder from a 2-ltr Soda Bottle or Milk Carton
- Seed Cakes
- Toilet Paper Seed Rollers
Of course, all creatures also need water and shelter for survival. Water is a tough one in some parts of the country as frozen water is rendered pretty useless to a bird. But you can find heated bird baths or if the temperatures get above freezing during the day you can fill your bird bath for a couple of hours each day. Just remember to empty it in the evening before it freezes up on you.
Mosaic Birdhouse by WinestoneBirdhouses on Etsy
Shelter can range from the bushes and trees that you already have in your yard to artificial homes that you can purchase in a number of Etsy shops or those that you can make yourself. If you are providing housing, be sure to place your bird houses out of the way of high winds and high enough that predators (such as house cats) can’t reach it.
Want to reuse some household items to build your birdhouse? Check out this one made of Little Golden Books.
Providing all three of these essential necessities can make winter the best season for bird watching. Just keep those feeders fully stocked and watch your feathered neighbors move in and hunker down.
What birds do you think you’ll see at your feeders this winter?
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