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How To Create A Winter Bird Habitat

Winter is approaching and November is a great month to set up a winter bird habitat. Many local species stick around for the winter and it is always nice to see them enjoying breakfast at a feeder as you have your morning cup of coffee. Birding is a simple and low cost way to attract wildlife to your home and a great opportunity to involve every member of your household. Young children and adults alike get a thrill when the bright red cardinal makes a stop in the yard! Here are some tips to get started on this winter adventure.

how to feed birds in winter and attract birds to your yard

1. Remember, birds also enjoy nutrients and shelter from trees and shrubs. Native perennials and birds like to eat native plantsplants with persistent berries such as crabapples and serviceberry make delicous winter snacks for the birds. Spruce and Cedar are evergreen options that offer cozy warmth. Planting these varieties will naturally attract more birds to your yard. The branch of a crabapple is an "easy to spot" location for a feeder.

2. Start simple. There are many options for feeders that fit every need. Choose one that works for you by prioritizing your goals. Choose  a large capacity feeder to avoid frequent fillings. Or if cardinals are your goal, pick a feeder and seed designed for them.

3. Have patience. Birds tend to follow feeding patterns. It may take up to a month for them to notice a new food source and make it part of their daily habits.

4. Don't stop filling your feeders. As we move toward spring, keep the feeders filled. There is often a lag between when natural food sources have diminished and the ground is warm enough for insects to emerge.

5. Offer them a drink. Purchase a bird bath and keep it filled. Add a heater to give your feathered friends a water source. They need both food and water to survive the winter.

how to provide birds with water in the winter

6. Be prepared for unwelcome guests. Adding a feeder to your backyard is essentially inviting native fauna to a winter open house. There are options for detering uninivted guests but be prepared to see squirrels attempting to get a nibble here and there. Options include squirrel proof feeders and baffles that can be added to most feeders. Tip from the Pros: Cardinals love safflower seed but the squirrels don't!

Throughout the month of November, The Barn's garden center is offering a "Feeder & Food" promotion. Buy any one feeder and a bag of seed and get 25% off the regular price of both items. Below we have outlined pairings that work well together. These also make great Christmas Gifts!

  • Best for Goldfinch – The Chapel Wood Heavy Duty Niger Seed Feeder is built to last with a cast alloy lid/base and perforated stainless steel “mesh”. The quick release base makes cleaning a breeze! SALE PRICE $29.99 Use with Niger Seed 3lb bag SALE PRICE $4.49
  • Best for Cardinals –Cardinals prefer to stand on a platform rather than a small peg like you find on most tube feeders. Our decorative Homestead Feeders feature a platform that wraps around the feeder and a top with an overhang that protects them while they eat.   SALE PRICE $19.49 - $29.25 Use with Safflower Seed 8lb bag to attract Cardinals, but deter squirrels SALE PRICE $7.50.
  • Best Peanut Feeder – Peanut feeders attract redheaded woodpeckers, nuthatches, jays, and more. The Chapel Wood Doughnut Peanut Feeder is a piece of art in the garden. The stainless steel lid also serves as a rain shelter when the bird perches in the center of the “doughnut”. Premium quality and durable construction, super easy to fill and clean.   This feeder can also be used for Black Oil Sunflower Seed 8lb bag SALE PRICE $11.24.
  • Best Large Capacity Feeder – If you have a LOT of birds or if you just don’t want to have to fill your feeder very often, the Audubon Mega Tube Feeder is a must! It holds 4 lbs of birdseed! It has copper color, decorative seed ports and matching copper color lid and base. Use as a hanging or pole mounted feeder. SALE PRICE $56.99. Perfect for use with our Original Wild Bird Food 40lb bag SALE PRICE $17.24!!!
  • Most Entertaining – For hours of entertainment, select our Squirrel Boss Feeder. It comes with a remote and BOTH a solar powered lid and an electrically charged lid (with charger). Whenever you see a squirrel on your feeder just hit the button on the remote and ZAP the feeder gives the squirrel an electric shock comparable to an electric dog fence. Easy to clean, and durable construction. SALE PRICE $59.99 Our premium No Waste Wild Bird Seed 10lb bag is free of shells and fillers. No more messy sunflower shells on your deck or patio, just the good stuff the birds love to eat! SALE PRICE $7.50

Looking for more information on wild bird care and feeding? Read our blog post on "How To Attract Hummingbirds".

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