Winter gives us an great opportunity to become acquainted with our fine feathered neighbors. Up north where the snows come early and very often stays on the ground for weeks, there’s a shortage of natural food for the wild birds. Many bird lovers throughout the country take advantage of this by giving food to the birds so they stay around their homes by building feeding stations.
Strong, healthy birds seldom die as a result of cold weather but every winter thousands of birds die up north mainly because of shortage of proper food. With the weed seeds all covered with snow and sleet on the trees sealing up the spaces in the bark where insect eggs are hidden, and with the berries all gone in the wetlands, very little food is available for the birds. When these conditions last a long time, birds become skinny because of malnutrition and finally weaken and slowly starve.
One of the most popular forms of feeding devices is the ones made in the form of a weather vane. It’s open at one side and has glass on the other. When the food is placed in position the wind won’t blow it away because the tray turns always with the glass front toward the wind. This method was devised by the American Audubon Society over a century ago. Seeds and cracked grain of all kinds should be provided and are always appreciated and acceptable to the birds that naturally or by necessity become granivorous in winter.
A food hopper is often used by quite a few people. This is a simple device for letting food down from a jar on to a little tray. This way the supply constantly replenished as the birds take away the seed in the tray at the bottom of the jar.