Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Storms, Winter Foods

The past couple of days have seen nearly nonstop snow - light but relentless. The snow is only heavier in sudden flurries near the feeders, as the finches, sparrows, chickadees, and doves land, snatch a seed, snap at one another, shuffle for position, munch another seed, and abruptly yield position to another hungry bill.

Birds can easily find food in winter and there are many things winter birds eat, but there is no doubt that feeders are helpful and appreciated. Just before a storm, or during a lull in inclement weather, activity at the feeders is more than busy, it has a frantic, frenetic pace as the birds stock up, adding a few more calories to their diet before snow and cold keep them more confined. I feed a range of different winter foods to my backyard flock, including...
Without a doubt, the most popular item on the menu is the hulled sunflower seed - rich in fat and calories but easy to eat even with smaller bills. I have three large hopper feeders filled with these nutritious kernels, but they're all emptied every 2-3 days, and every bird seems to fight for a sample. I happily refill them, even tromping through snowdrifts, moving branches and covering myself in loose snow, and slipping into a gully to reach each feeder and increase its bounty. Depending on the time of day when I am able to tend the feeders, the birds may be visiting one before I even finish filling the others. I'm happy to do it, and always happy to see how popular it is. I've even recently stocked up, and have nearly 50 pounds of hulled seeds waiting to be served up - and in this weather, that will be soon enough!

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