By Myra Spiller, Education Technician.
Winter is on the way. A great way to make winter more colourful and lively is to invite neighbourhood birds to dine at a bird feeder. Not all birds fly south for the winter, as you can see if you look around your backyard or nearest conservation area. Birds of all sizes, shapes and colours will join the party at your own backyard feeder.
In my backyard I have seen beautiful blue jays, spunky woodpeckers, shiny starlings, radiant red cardinals and homey house sparrows. A friend of mine even has a wild turkey come and sample seeds that have spilled onto the ground under the feeder.
The most important thing to remember if you decide to start a feeder is to keep it full for the whole winter. Once temperatures drop and the snow comes, many birds will start counting on you for their food.
Like us, different birds like different kinds of foods. Blue jays enjoy peanuts, woodpeckers like to eat suet. Goldfinches like niger seed, and many birds such as cardinals enjoy black oil sunflower seeds. Think about the kind of birds you would like to see, then try to attract them with their favourite foods. For biggest variety throughout the winter, try a combination of different seeds and different feeder types.
If you don’t have a yard, or if feeding the birds sounds like a lot of work, why don’t you visit Terra Cotta Conservation Area? You can enjoy all the birds that come to our bird feeders around the Watershed Learning Centre. We fill them regularly from November to April. See many different bird species, and lots of squirrels.
It’s a great opportunity to learn about more winter birds in your area.