January is for the Birds
Feeding winter birds in Ohio
If you’re anything like us, you spend the cold winter months dreaming of spring and being able to get back into your yard. It can be hard to enjoy the dormant garden but our local wildlife can help bring some excitement and color out your window.
In your yard….
Birds need food, water, and shelter. Your garden can provide all of these things, even in the winter. Bird feeders and houses are a quick and simple way to attract birds this season. In order to attract the most birds, be sure to keep your feeders full throughout the winter. It is also important to remove any snow or ice that might accumulate on them so that the birds can access the food. There are several different types of feeders, so depending on which species you are hoping to attract to your yard, plan out which feeders and feed will work best for you. Hopper feeders filled with black oil sunflower seed will attract the widest variety, including cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, and finches. Tube feeders with thistle will bring bright yellow goldfinches and suet feeders can attract robins, woodpeckers, and bluebirds. Placing any bird feeders and houses away from any areas of your yard that are busy with activities will maximize their effectiveness. Also consider providing water in your yard- during a deep freeze providing a bird bath with 1-2 inches of fresh water will likely attract more birds than a feeder. In the coldest stretches it is much harder for birds to find water than food.
This is also a great time to plan ways to add to your landscape for year round benefits. Many birds use evergreens and other trees and shrubs to shelter, hide, and create nests.
Shrubs like serviceberry, dogwood, sumac and elderberry are great options to provide food for birds as well as shelter throughout the year. Trees such as oak, sweet gum, crabapple and maple also produce fruits or seeds that attract birds and other wildlife. Simply providing the three basic needs of shelter, food, and water will entice a variety of birds to visit your yard and provide a beautiful distraction to the cold weather while helping to ensure the survival of so many wonderful local feathered friends.
Photos courtesy of IG: Buckeyebirds