Feeding Birds During Winter

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inter can be tough on birds that don't migrate south. Find out what you can do to help your feathered friends survive the frosty temperatures.

Winter can be tough on birds that don't migrate south to find more habitable conditions.  In addition to the snow and cold, birds lose the protection of the trees that die.  They also suffer shortages on food, water and shelter.  So, what can you do to help your feathered friends survive frosty temperatures?  Here are some tips.

Birdfeeder Location

bird in snow

The winter weather can be rough on birds, which is why it's important to station your bird feeder in an area that has protection from the wind, such as the south or southeast side of your house or close to a row of hedges.  Also, use bird feeders that have a wide cover over feeding ports, so your bird feed isn't smothered by ice and snow.  Lastly, you may want to utilize a bird feeder with a large capacity, so you don't have to brave the elements to refill it as often.

Winter Bird Food

Winter bird food differs from other seasons, as the primary goal is finding fatty foods that will help birds store enough energy to survive the elements.  A few good choices for winter bird food are: Black oil sunflower seed, nyger seed, suet mixes and peanut butter.


Winter can make it challenging for birds to get the hydration they need, which is why providing sources of water is important.  If you have a ceramic birdbath, you'll want to cover it during cold nights to prevent it from freezing.  A better bet is to purchase a heated bird bath that can continue to provide birds water, regardless of the elements.

Pests and Predators

During winter, food is scarce for other animals as well, which is why it's doubly important to protect your bird food from predators like squirrels and raccoons.  Make sure your bird food is safe by using a squirrel-proof bird feeder or caged perches.

Plant Evergreen Trees

Birds crave foliage, but during winter many of their favorite trees and shrubs lose their leaves.  If you want to help the birds in your area, consider planting some evergreen trees or bushes that stay alive all year.