Helping Birds Through the Winter

mountain-chickadee_blkforestco_20100324_lah_1150The tiny bird fluffs its feathers against the cold, while the north wind whips sleet into the pine branches surrounding its perch. With all water sources frozen, it has to use precious body warmth to melt the snow it eats. Last year’s crop of seeds is buried under a layer of white. Wild birds are amazingly hardy creatures, but even the sturdiest Mountain Chickadee (above) finds conditions like these a challenge.

There are a number of ways we can make our yards more hospitable to wintering birds. They need food, water, and shelter to survive. With increased urbanization, all three of these are becoming more scarce, so our efforts may make the difference in whether or not a bird survives until spring.


Book Review: Outwitting Squirrels

Outwitting-Squirrels-193x300Anyone who puts out food for wild birds quickly learns that the squirrel food alert network is very efficient. Within hours, often before the birds find your new feeders, the squirrels are on site, shoveling sunflower seeds into their mouths as fast as they can. That’s pretty fast.

Some people actually like squirrels. That’s fine with me. If they want to feed expensive seeds and nuts to squirrels, let them go right ahead. Of course, their largess will encourage the production of more squirrels….

On the other hand, most bird feeders want to feed birds, not rodents. Banging on the window and waving your arms may alarm the neighbors, but it won’t faze the squirrels for long. So what’s a frustrated bird lover to do?