Feeding Birds All Winter Long

The return of snow and cold weather can be tough on people, but it's also tough for wildlife, especially birds. Not all birds migrate south for winter, and instead have other ways of coping. Birds survive by taking shelter in bushes, trees, decks and anywhere that can protect them from the snow and wind. Some birds even store food and come back to get it when the weather is rough and food is scarce.

In the winter, birds in your backyard need to eat more in order to stay alive because their bodies' metabolism speeds up to create heat. The smaller the bird, the more it needs to eat. You can help by feeding birds when the weather is cold.

A good practice is to plan in the fall, since this is when birds start to scout places to find food when winter hits. Begin to stock up on food and find bird feeders, if you don't already have them. The best feeders have covered perches to protect birds from the elements. If you do set out bird feeders, make sure they are constantly full. Birds will begin to expect food in your feeders and rely on it to survive. Fruit, thistle seed and black-oil sunflower seeds are great food options for most birds.

Water is also very important in the winter. Birds can store water for a long time, but not long enough to last the entire season. You might consider a heated birdbath to support your feathered friends.

By feeding birds in your backyard throughout winter, you will be front and center for some great bird watching, while helping them survive.