Consistency is Key to Maintain a Backyard Full of Wild Birds Through Winter

A source of water and access to high-fat foods such as sunflower seeds and suet cake are vital to wintering birds

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Some homeowners in the region may be looking to lure birds to brighten up their backyards during the dull winter months.

But there may be a few things to consider before buying your first bird feeder.

Many homeowners choose to set out food to attract backyard birds during the winter.

Wild birds can add a bit of color to the dreary season.

These animals have come to depend on people for their survival during the cold.

“The birds, unlike wild animals, they use us in the winter time to help feed them because they don’t have a natural source of food,” said Bryan Keator, GM of the Moorhead Menard’s.

Wildlife experts say that there are three things homeowners can do to make the most of the bird food they buy.

“I guess the big thing is the kind of food, how much , and then the location are the big three things,” said Rob Baden, Wildlife Area Manager with Minnesota DNR.

Bryan says that in the winter time, there’s more to taking care of backyard birds than filling up a bird feeder with traditional bird seed.

High–fat foods such as sunflower seeds and suet cakes are best for wintering birds; however, food shouldn’t be the only consideration.

“The big thing is hydration.  Get a heated bird bath that you can mount to your deck railing, so they can stay hydrated through the winter time,” said Keator.

Experts say that whatever you do for wild birds this winter, it is critical to stay consistent all season.

“Birds get accustomed to coming to food sources, especially if you’re one of the only ones around – if you don’t have a bunch of neighbors feeding them,” said Baden.  “If you put feed out there for a couple of days, it’s really, really cold, they get accustomed to them, don’t just stop you have to be responsible and keep feeding them.”

Experts say to hang bird feeders high off the ground to keep mice and squirrels away.

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