Today was an absolutely gorgeous day where I live…..the beginning of what promises to be a beautiful weekend! Ahhh….it does my heart good to see the snow disappearing as the mercury in the thermometer rises. Another thing that does my heart good to see? BIRDS! My son and I spotted some robins pecking around in the backyard today and it got me thinking about a cute little project I’d seen recently designed to help our fine-feathered friends to build their nests this spring!
Just add a couple of handfuls of yarn scraps to an inexpensive suet feeder and hang outside where the birds can find it. Then be on the lookout for birds nests in your neighborhood featuring your “building materials”. I am definitely putting one of these up for my bird buddies this weekend!
*A note on giving yarn to birds: The National Wildlife Foundation says: “Cut them into one-inch-wide strips and in lengths under 6 inches long, and put them where birds will find them, such as on tree and shrub branches. Don’t use synthetic fibers or long lengths, which, like hair, can tangle and injure birds.”
Yarn Bird Feeder
by Juniper Moon Farm
“Birds fly over the rainbow, Why then – oh, why can’t I? If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why, can’t I?”
— E.Y. Harburg
And if you’re still feeling crafty after that little project….here are a few more to help FEED the birds. (They’re going to be HUNGRY after all that nest building!)
Biodegradable Orange Birdfeeder
by Rhythm of the Home
Nearly two billion dollars a year are spent on birdhouses, birdfeeders, wild bird food, and related items. Feeding birds is both good for the birds and the soul.
. . The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds . . .
— John Burroughs, Birds and Poets, 1887
by Boston Parents Paper
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
— Robert Lynd
“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings”
— James Matthew Barrie
Other ingredients that you can add to bird treats or just set out on your feeder are: Ground eggs shells, fine gravel or sand (for grit), cheese, dry cereal, coconut (raw), cornbread, cracker crumbs, dog biscuits (chopped fine), ears of sweet corn and watermelon pulp. Don’t forget the seeds from all of your veggies!
More Winter Bird Feeding Tips:
- Keep feeders full when winter is toughest. Bird feeders are most attractive to birds in winter, when natural food supplies are least available. Seeds that are merely a welcome supplement under normal winter conditions may suddenly become vital in the space of one fierce ice storm or blizzard.
- Feeders should be located out of the wind. The east or southeast side of a house or near a row of trees is ideal. It is best to have a perching spot such as a bush or tree for the birds to use to survey the feeding area and provide sufficient cover for safe refuge from predators and shelter from the wind and weather. The feeders should be positioned near cover but in the open to allow birds to watch for danger.
- Oil sunflower is a great overall seed to offer in the winter. It has a high calorie/ounce ratio due to its high fat and protein content and its relatively thin shell.
- Suet is a great food to offer many of the birds that will visit backyards in the winter. Suet is a high energy, pure fat substance which is invaluable in winter when insects are harder to find and birds need many more calories to keep their bodies warm.
- Peanuts are another great food to offer birds in the wintertime. Peanuts have high protein and fat levels and are often an ingredient in suet products.
- Clean off feeders, platforms and perches after each storm so seed is easily accessible.
- Leave fruit and berries on trees, hedges and bushes to provide a natural source of food throughout the winter.
- Add a heated birdbath to your backyard or place a safe heating element in a regular birdbath to provide birds with liquid water.
- Stamp or shovel snow around feeders to provide easier access to spilled seed for ground feeding birds.
- Leave nesting boxes and birdhouses up all year round to provide winter roosting sites.