Supporting Birds In Winter ~ part 2

Supporting Birds In Winter ~ part 2

Last week I wrote about how you can support birds in the winter by providing seed and suet. In response, one of our readers asked about how to keep the squirrels out of the seed while she’s trying to feed the birds. I suggested that she come into the store to see all of the various feeders that are designed to feed birds but foil the squirrels. Later it occurred to me that there was another option for this customer: Cole’s Hot Meats!

Squirrels will not eat seed coated with hot pepper, but the birds either aren’t bothered by the spice or like it. (They just eat and fly…and never leave review on Yelp.) So in addition to using a Droll Yankee seed tray that’s mounted on a pole that’s a distance from shrubs and trees, or hanging a Yankee Flipper or other squirrel-defeating feeder, Hot meat seed can be used in existing feeding stations in order to feed birds but not their furry friends.

Feed the birds but not the squirrels.

In addition to food, birds can be supported through the winter by providing water that doesn’t freeze. A birdbath heater is a great investment that the birds will appreciate throughout the cold season. Be sure to refill the basin daily so that they always have clean water to drink.

This birdbath heater keeps water from freezing.
When our power went out one winter, the heater that normally keeps the birdbath from freezing stopped working. This mourning dove settled on the basin anyway, clearly determined to wait until the heater was working once again.

In addition to suet and seed, some bird lovers put out mealworms. These are eaten by several types of birds, including the always appreciated bluebirds.

In addition to mealworms, the bluebirds also love shelled sunflower seed.

In addition to supporting the birds with food and water, be sure to go outside and appreciate the ones you can see in your yard or on walks through one of the Cape’s conservation areas. When the days are short, it helps us to stay optimistic to get outside and look up into the trees and sky.

If you’re interested in keeping track of the birds you see, download a checklist for your area at the MassAudubon website, print it out and keep it handy.

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