Many of us keep wild bird feeders out for most of the year in our yards. We love seeing all the different types of wild birds that stop by our feeders to grab some seed. When the cold weather starts to creep up, many stop filling up those feeders but did you know this is when the birds could use our help the most?

The cold winter months cut wild birds off from their natural food and water source.  You can help these little guys out by setting up a feeder and water source for them in your yard in the winter. Not only will you be helping the birds, but it will bring a little bit more cheer to your life on those gloomy winter days when it doesn’t seem like there is much life around. As the days get shorter and a little bit colder, we tend to spend a lot more time inside away from nature. We see less and less wildlife as everyone is hunkered down for the cold winter ahead. A great way to stay connected to nature and to bring some joy to those frigid days is to set up a wild bird feeding and hydration station in your yard.

Here are some tips and tricks for caring for those wild birds this winter:

Tip 1. Stock up on Seed

Winter storms and thick ice can cut birds off from their natural food source. Before a storm, make sure to stock up on plenty of high-quality seeds.

Here are a few nutritious seeds to stock up on:

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Hulled Peanuts
  • Nyjer (thistle) Seed
  • Safflower

You can also put mealworms, fruit, and raisins out for wild birds as well. If you put raisins out, be sure to put them in some warm water to soften them up a little bit first.

Tip 2. Provide Suet

Just like all animals in the winter, birds burn a significant amount of calories in winter to stay warm. Suet is a great calorie source, easily digestible, and is considered a high energy source for birds. When purchasing suet, keep in mind that some cheaper suet is full of fillers which are no good for the birds. Check to make sure you are buying high-quality suet.

Tip 3. Keep them Hydrated

This seems obvious but it is sometimes forgotten. Make sure to leave a pan of water out for the birds and refill at least once a day or as needed. Outdoor animals often die of thirst in the winter when everything is frozen, and they are unable to find water.

There are also some great heated bird baths out there to purchase for the winter months. Here are a few to check out!

Tip 4. Feeders

Try to place your feeders in a place where the birds will be protected from the harsh winter winds. Keeping the feeders in a sheltered location will also help to keep the feed dry. Be sure to make it a habit of regularly cleaning your bird feeders. Keeping up with the cleanliness of your feeders will help stop any mold from forming and help prevent any disease this could spread to the birds. When cleaning your feeders, be sure to discard any soggy seed and let the feeder dry completely before filling it again.

Happy bird watching!