On cold, icy or snowy days we notice more wild birds than usual hunting for food to keep warm. The presence of lovely birds livens up the bleak winter landscape. The brilliant red feathers of the male cardinal stands out gorgeously against his snowy surroundings. We count six cardinals in the yard near the feeder. Bluebirds have already been seen flying in and out of their house.
Wild birds need extra care during cold weather. We want the wild birds in our yard to be well nourished through winter, when it's difficult to find food. Do you know which bird feed to add to the feeder to attract your favorite wild bird species to your yard?
That's right. Wild birds have favorite foods. A variety of bird feed will enable you to feed more bird species. If you'd like to attract a particular species of bird to your feeders, it helps to know what that bird prefers to eat.
Here's a basic list matching bird feed to the species it attracts.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds attract cardinals, chickadees, finches, grosbeaks, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and scrub jays.
Cracked Corn attracts blackbirds, buntings, blue jays, cardinals, crows, grackles, mourning doves, purple finches, sparrows, and woodpeckers. Although this is an inexpensive bird food option when purchased in bulk from a farm feed store, cracked corn doesn't stay fresh long once wet.
Oranges, fresh and halved attract northern orioles.
Peanuts, unsalted and halved attract chickadees and scrub jays.
Suet attracts blue jays, Carolina wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, northern orioles, starlings, thrushes, and warblers.
Thistles placed in a hanging tube feeder will attract goldfinches, purple finches, sparrows, chickadees, titmice, and pine siskins.
White Proso Millet attracts mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, and towhees.
Water. Remember to change the water every couple of days in the birdbath, especially after a freeze. In colder regions, empty the birdbath at night and refill with warm water on days above freezing.
Happy Bird Watching!
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