House & Home

Feeding Birds in Winter

Posted December 19, 2014

Winter is a difficult season for birds who stick around in northern climes. They need extra stamina to keep themselves warm, just at the time of year when their usual foods are in short supply. Feeding the birds in winter is a kindness not only to our feathered friends, but also to yourself. The sight of a hungry flock helping themselves at your outdoor bird feeder is a special snowy weather pleasure. Just be sure that you place feeders in a spot which is sheltered from the worst of the wind, and that you make healthy food choices. Here are some inspiring winter bird-feeding ideas from Hometalk members.

1. Make Suet to Enrich the Birds' Diet (Winter Only)

Birds need extra fat and protein in the wintertime. Fatty treats like oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet are a tasty way to provide these nutrients. (Change the menu in favor of lighter fare when the spring thaw comes along.) Better Hens and Gardens invented her own homemade suet recipe for feeding birds in winter. We think of it as avian energy bars.

2. Craft a Seed Wreath from Repurposed Garden Trimmings

If you love animals, chances are you're also fond of gardening and repurposing. Combine these three passions by recycling fall seed heads from your flower bed to make a nutritious bird-feeding wreath. PS: Flower seeds are some of birds' favorite native foods. Home-ology twines her leftover seed heads into grape vine wreaths, for a bird food source that is both pretty and practical.

3. Hang up a Covered Bird Feeder

Use a bird feeder equipped with a roof, to shelter your guests from all but the harshest weather that Mother Nature has in store. Fill it up regularly and remember to remove any seeds that get moldy from wintry damp. These bird feeding tips are offered by New House New Home, who lives in Canada and knows a thing or two about frosty winter climate.

4. Teach Your Children

Try a do-it-yourself bird-feeding project designed to teach your children that being kind to animals is an important value, and a lot of fun, besides. Dagmar's House showed youngsters how to make these easy DIY seed caddies as a 4H Club project ... out of pinecones!

5. Offer the Birds Both Food and Drink

Even when there's snow on the ground, birds need both food and drink. Make sure to leave them a handy source of fresh, clean water. Our Fairfield Home and Garden has installed a solar birdbath to keep the birdies' favorite beverage from freezing over when it's icy outside.

6. Keep on Giving

Long after this year's holiday season has faded to a fond memory, you can use your decor to keep on giving. Mix up some simple microwave peanut butter treats to please the birds' palates. Then mold the treats to shape, and hang them on your old Christmas tree, for the perfect reuse. Vetsy bonded with her adorable niece over a batch of these delightful delicacies.

7. Share the Love

Create hanging "ornaments" that pack the kind of nutritional punch which hungry birds need in the wintertime. These fruit, nutty crafts are pretty enough to give as a gift to an animal-loving friend. Teri formed her birdseed decorations with the help of kitchen cookie cutters in assorted shapes.

Laura Firszt writes for

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