Help A Bird Out In Winter


Birds always seek food. Their high body temperatures ( around 106 F) create a demand for steady, quality fuel, especially in the winter when they have to eat more to stay warm. Small birds face the biggest challenges. To stave off deadly cold, kinglets huddle together to sleep.

Hummingbirds lower their body temperature and enter a torpor to conserve energy and heat. You don’t have to live in the forest to be close to such activity. You can retool your yard to help wintering birds, and boost your chances to watch them in action.

  1. Food-  Set out oily sunflower seeds and attach hunks of suet to tree trunks. The chickadee that breaks winter’s silence with its call meets up to 20 percent of its dietary needs with such offerings. In many places, larger hummingbirds stay through winter and benefit from sugar-water dispensers. A shop like Wild Bird Unlimited ( can suggest foods for birds in your area.
  2. Water– Birds eat and bathe in the snow, but they lose precious energy converting it to life-sustaining fluid. A birdbath,gently heated or kept circulating so that it doesn’t freeze, will attract a crowd.
  3. Shelter– Nest boxes, standing dead trees, and brush piles, give birds roosting places out of the cold.
  4. Variety– Leave seed heads in place after frost and resist the urge to cut back everything in fall. Let snow lie; its insulation. Keep field edges scruffy with hedgerows.
  5. Cat-Free Yard– Outdoor cats kill over a billion birds each year, and indoor cats live twice as long anyway.
  6. Native Plants– Your state’s department of natural resources has information on the vegetation that birds have long relied on. Their seeds and berries and the insects they support are birds main food in winter.