One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to appreciate the beauty around them. As winter sets in and all is white and grey outside, wild birds can be the flowers of our winter gardens.
Recent studies have shown with a little help from their friends (us), our avian amigos can more than double their odds of surviving cold winter nights. Here’s how to help birds survive the sub-freezing temperatures to come. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!
1) Keep a healthful source of food available to give birds a full stomach at night and an easy breakfast in the morning. This will give them the energy required to survive cold, winter nights. Birds will shiver through the night. This keeps their bodies moving and increases their metabolism, but it is very energy consuming. “No Waste” seed blends, suet and nuts are excellent sources of wholesome energy. When birds have a healthful source of food available during the day, 7 out of 10 will survive cold, winter nights. When they don’t, only 3 out of 10 make it. Big box store blends are not healthful sources of food and can contain as much as 75% filler seeds.
2) Keep an open source of water available for drinking when all else may be frozen. Birds have been known to bathe in sub-freezing temperatures (maybe this is where the term bird-brain originated!). Seriously, though, birds will bathe to keep their feathers clean for maximum warmth. Just like our down jackets, their feathers keep them warmest when they are clean. Thermostatically controlled, heated birdbaths and birdbath heaters make it easy to ensure an open source of water.
3) Provide a roosting/nesting box so birds can escape the cold, winter winds. They will congregate with their friends and share body warmth. Thick vegetation such as coniferous trees and shrubs provide good cover as well. It can be 50 degrees warmer under shelter.
Enjoy your feathered friends all year long and provide them with shelter from the storm. It’s easy to help these beautiful little creatures survive the cold, winter days and nights to come. Happy birding! For plenty of friendly, free advice on attracting the most beautiful birds in the world, call 303-467-2644.
~ David Menough, Owner of Wild Birds Unlimited of Arvada
David and his wife, Kathy, own the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the southeast corner of 88th and Wadsworth in Arvada. WBU stores specialize in bird feeders, birdbaths, houses, field guides, nature-related gifts, binoculars and quality seed blends.
Other WBU Front Range locations:
- Wild Birds Unlimited of Denver – 2720 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
- Wild Birds Unlimited of Fort Collins – 3636 S. College Ave.
BirdTalk migrating to noon! Tune in to David and Scott Menough at noon on Saturdays for BirdTalk Radio on 710 KNUS. They will broadcast live from their stores in Arvada and Denver.