During the winter, birds’ usual food sources become more limited. Most insects go into hibernation, and earthworms are buried under piles of snow and frozen ground. As buds, greenery, and seeds or nuts stop growing, birds look harder and harder for alternate food sources.
That’s what makes winter the perfect season to set up a bird feeder in your yard.
A bird feeder will attract varied species that you may not see at other times. This can be especially fun if you have kids who will enjoy bird watching. It’s also an excellent addition for an office window’s view. Not only do you get to enjoy the beautiful show that it will attract to your view, but you also get to support native bird species through the difficult winter months.
If you don’t want to set up a bird feeder this year (perhaps because you’re worried it’ll attract other critters too) then you can still attract birds to your yard simply by making water available. Water sources are scarce during the winter, and if you can just offer a birdbath with unfrozen, clean water, surrounding birds will be thankful.
How to Make Your Own Bird Feeder
Pre-made bird feeders are available in most hardware stores, and they’re usually adorned with bright colors and include seed mix so that all you have to do is hang it up. However, it’s also fun to make your own bird feeder, and there are many easy ways to do it:
- Pine cone bird feeder. Collect a pine cone from the ground, and suspend it on a string. You can make seeds stick to it easily by slathering on some peanut butter first.
- Cheerio bird feeder. String a bunch of cheerios onto a pipe cleaner or a sturdy piece of string. Hang the strands together in loops.
- The simplest bird feeder. A super-easy way to set up a bird feeder is by simply using a paper plate, or cups. Just fill it up with bird seed and punch some holes that will make it easy to string up.
- Upcycled dishes. This is along the same vein: birds don’t really need something hanging from a branch. They don’t mind swooping down to a table to collect seeds up from an old teacup or chipped glass bowl.
- Bags of suet. Mesh bags (like the ones that hold garlic bulbs or oranges) can be saved and refilled with homemade suet balls. You can make suet easily with some Crisco, peanut butter, seeds, and flour.
Which Birds Will You See?
If you’re interested in knowing which kinds of birds you’re seeing, consider keeping a bird watcher’s manual by the window. Some of the most common patrons of your bird feeder, here in Northern Utah, will probably be mourning doves, quail, and Steller’s jays. However, you’ll probably also see some charming small species like the Juniper Shrike, Mountain Bluebird, and the Red-Breasted Nuthatch.