Feeding birds in winter

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To make the most of feeding birds in winter:

Clean off feeders, platforms, and perches after each storm so seed is easily accessible. Leave fruit and berries on trees, hedges, and bushes to provide a natural source of food throughout the winter. Add a heated birdbath to your backyard or place a safe heating element in a regular birdbath to provide birds with liquid water.

Most birds that visit backyards in snowy weather thrive on seeds since insects and fruit are harder to find naturally during the winter. The best foods to offer birds in colder weather have a high fat or oil content that will provide abundant energy for winter survival. Nutritious winter foods for birds include:

Black oil sunflower seed
Hulled peanuts or peanut hearts
Nyjer (thistle) seed
Suet mixes with seeds or fruit
Peanut butter
White millet seed

When choosing birdseed and other foods for winter feeding, take into consideration which bird species are present in the winter and what foods they prefer to avoid excess wasted seed. Many birders also prefer to use no-waste or no-mess seed mixes such as hulled sunflower seeds in the winter to avoid several months’ of hull accumulation beneath feeders in the spring.

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