Food and Water
Sunflower seeds attract birds like a magnet. Many birds love them.
Wild bird seed can be bought at the supermarket or hardware store and this is what attracts wild birds. It is a great idea to feed birds small bits of gravel and sand grit. This may sound weird, but it's not. This helps them to grind up their food.
Suet, which is hard fat, is a good energy source for birds in the cold weather. You must mix flower or corn meal with soft fats like peanut butter to absorb the grease. If the grease is not absorbed, the bird may choke, clog its nostrils, or rub off its feathers. If this doesn't happen it will instead have greasy feathers that won't keep the bird warm.
It's always nice to give a bird a special treat. Some ideas are whole or shelled peanuts, cracked nuts, fruits such as berries, half-cut apples, oranges, water-soaked raisins, millet, hemp, corn, and thistle seeds. There are some treats that you should not feed a bird, such as bread or bread crumbs. This gives them barely any energy, provides little nutrition and, if a bird were to fill up on only bread on a cold night, it would probably not survive until morning.
There is a very important "must." If you feed birds through the fall, you must continue throughout the winter until spring. Birds do not migrate because of the cold, but to find food. If you're feeding a bird in the beginning of winter and it decides to live in your area, it is counting on you for some of its food.
Birds need a lot of water for drinking and washing. Be sure to give them a large amount of clean and fresh water.
Sources: Dawe, Neil and Karen, The Bird Book, New York: Workman Publishing, 1998.
Thompson III, Bill, Bird Watching For Dummies, New York: IDG Books, 1997.
Return to Creating a Bird Habitat.
Return to Index Page.