Caring for wild song birds in winter

Now that winter has arrived, it’s time to ensure that the wild song birds in your yard have plenty of food to eat and fresh water to drink.  

Bluebirds need our help to survive during the winter months.  Please put out plenty of food and water for them.  An enclosed bluebird feeder is a great platform to provide food specifically for bluebirds.  During the winter months, I put suet nuggets, cracked sunflower hearts, mealworms, and small lumps of suet cut from a suet cake in my bluebird feeder.

Bluebird in Snow #1

Bluebird feeding at bluebird feeder 

TIP: Many wild song birds including bluebirds and woodpeckers eat suet during the winter months.  Suet provides a low-cost high-energy food supply.  You can buy suet cakes at wild song bird supply stores and large retail stores such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc.

Bluebirds #3

Bluebird on suet cake

Flicker and Downy eating suet 01-27-2007

Northern Flicker & Downy Woodpecker eating suet

TIP: Wild song birds need plenty of fresh water.  Take steps to prevent the water in your bird baths from freezing during the winter months.  One approach is to place a relatively low-cost thermostatically controlled electric heater in your bird baths.  I recommend using a 50–watt heater for small to medium bird baths instead of 150–watt heaters that use much more electrical energy.

A frozen bird bath is of no value to wild song birds!

Frozen Bird Bath

American Goldfinches trying to get water from a frozen bird bath

Heated Bird Bath #1

Thermostatically controlled K & H 50–watt electric bird bath heater

Wal-Mart sells a combination bird bath and platform seeder feeder for about $10.00 + tax.  K & H Manufacturing makes a compact 50–watt heater that can be painted to match your decor.  The heater comes with a 3–year limited warranty.

TIP:  Place feeder arrays in your yard to dispense different kinds of foods suitable for wild song birds.  The arrays will attract a variety of wild song birds and facilitate observation and photography efforts.

Feeder Array #2

Feeder array dispensing thistle seed, suet nuggets, peanuts, suet cake, woodpecker bar, and Nut N’ Berry mix

Feeder Array #1

Feeder array dispensing suet cakes, woodpecker bar, peanuts, and suet nuggets

Tip: Put up an insulated winter roost box so the wild song birds in your yard will have a secure and warm place to survive the cold of winter.  Bluebirds will huddle together on the floor of a roost box  and use their body heat to stay warm.

Insulated Winter Roost Box #1

Insulated winter roost box (1 1/2” diameter entrance hole)

Insulated Winter Roost Box #2

Interior of insulated winter roost box. 

 Note: The roost box has a double layer contruction with foam insulation between the layers.

Summary:  Wild song birds need our help to survive during the winter.  Please go the “extra mile” and provide for them.

If you would like the plans & bill-of-materials for the insulated winter roost box shown above, please Email and put ROOST BOX PLANS in the subject line.

Bluebird Shepherd


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