North or South, winter is upon the land. It is the time when the heaviest bird feeder use begins. Make sure all of your feeders are up and in good shape. Be sure you are feeding thistle (Nyjer) and the high fat sunflower seed along with a good mixed seed.
Suet is also important as a high fat, high energy food. Not only will the woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice and chickadees be happy, but some sparrows, some warblers, thrashers, towhees and of course the jays will utilize suet.
If you are in the north, the first really big snowstorms will hit. Be sure to brush the snow off of the feeders so the birds can eat. Here in Portal, snow may fall on the higher mountains and we will experience am altitudinal migration with juncos, Pine Siskins and goldfinches finding their way down the mountain. If the birds are in a frenzy before a storm, perhaps filling the feeders again at midday will help them better prepare for several days of cold, windy weather.
In the south the winter sparrows will challenge your ability to identify them and territorial species may flock. We have huge flocks of white-crowned sparrows and the challenge is to identify whether it is a Western Meadowlark or an Eastern Meadowlark.
Also in the north, this is the month that the Canadian invaders arrive, if they come at all. Look for Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, redpolls, and crossbills in addition to the regulars. Common feeder birds include woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, juncos, sparrows, cardinals, nuthatches and all of the finches. Check your field guide to see what species you can expect.
Remember to offer water in your birdbath and to keep it from freezing to attract even more birds. Check it often during the day.
When you are trying to interest young children, you may want to decorate an outdoor Christmas Tree for Birds. Use the standard pinecones rolled in peanut butter and then in bird seed. String stale bread, raw peanuts, suet squares, popcorn, chucks of fruit and even cranberries for a colorful and delicious decoration to your Bird Tree.
And don’t discard your indoor Christmas tree. We will be using it in January.
- Fill bird feeders daily, more often if a storm in eminent.
- Remember to offer high energy foods like suet and sunflower seed.
- Offer water and keep it open.
- Watch for the Canadian influx of redpolls, ect.
- Decorate a Christmas Tree for Birds
- And don’t dispose of your indoor tree, we will need it next month.