Now that we're here year 'round, we can do a lot more for wildlife. With this past summer having been so tough - hot and dry, so that many plants dried up before forming seed - we know the birds can be short of winter food. So we've added several feeders and keep them stocked with black oil sunflower, safflower, nyjer, mixed seed, and suet. In return, we're getting daily, daylong entertainment. Finches, cardinals, titmice, chipping sparrows, red-bellied woodpeckers, and even the occasional bluebird start feeding early morn and continue till early afternoon, with occasional returns. We'll soon be clearing out the birdhouses and adding more for the coming season, and look forward to a good-sized population of songbirds this summer - not that they were lacking before.
Something we're really pleased about is having added birdbath heaters. Since our winter temperatures aren't severe, heaters in the 50-watt range suffice to keep water from completely freezing in birdbaths by the front walk and outside my parents' suite. Such a small expenditure of electricity for a good purpose: I recommend them to anyone caring for birds in a cold climate.
Having read some good tips on helping birds through the winter, the other new thing we're trying is small shelters for small birds: some like heavy felt, some heavy raffia. Can't tell how much they're being used, but occasionally see one swinging far more than any breeze accounts for. The idea is to give small birds shelter from the wind and rain. We know the barn is a virtual aviary in the winter, but that's a long way from the feeders, and perhaps not all species care to cohabit.
We ordered most of our new items from Duncraft, and recommend them highly. Take a look at what they have to offer: Help Birds Survive Winter./p>