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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Outdoors: Create a safe haven for birds this winter

  • Many birds migrate to warmer weather when it gets cold outside. But for the non-migratory birds that stick around, it’s more difficult to find food and shelter when the temperature dips.

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  • Many birds migrate to warmer weather when it gets cold outside. But for the non-migratory birds that stick around, it’s more difficult to find food and shelter when the temperature dips.
    If you enjoy bird watching and want to help out your feathered friends this winter, head to your local bird supply store for help in picking out the right products. Wild Birds Unlimited is one bird supply shop with locations around the country. It has several tips on its website, www.wbu.com, for creating ideal food and shelter for birds, such as:
    - Birds will benefit from covered shelter. Just like you, birds will want protection from the elements. In addition, they need to be protected from predators. Look to buy roosting boxes, or establish landscaping that will provide shelter for birds.
    - Birds’ dietary needs change in the winter. Food is scarce and may be hidden by ice and snow, and birds work harder to keep up their body temperature. Higher fat and caloric food like suet (animal fat), peanuts or oil sunflower seeds will help supplement a bird’s diet.
    - Location, location, location. Keep feeders out of the wind, such as on the east or southeast side of your house, and ideally near a row of trees for more protection. Make sure the area isn’t too open – you want the birds to be protected from snow and rain – but it shouldn’t be so enclosed that birds won’t be able to see dangers around them.
    - Enclosed bird feeders will benefit you and the birds. Look for hopper feeders instead of tray feeders for the winter; seed won’t be as affected by the cold, wet weather with these styles. In addition, you won’t have to go outside in the cold as often to change the food.
    - Make sure birds have a source of water. Regular birdbaths should be covered up in the winter to keep water and ice out. But you can buy birdbath heaters to keep water warm for birds. Just make sure you clean birdbaths regularly.

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