Caring for birds in the winter wildlife garden means providing three essential elements: Food, Water, and Shelter

It snowed this weekend and the temperatures have plummeted to below freezing, and will remain there all week. And I have to admit, being cold makes me cranky. But I am tucked cozily under a blanket inside my house. It’s the birds that live in my wildlife garden that I’m thinking about now.

While I will venture out into the cold this weekend in hopes of being able to get a good view of one of the many Snowy Owls who have appeared far out of their normal range during this Owl irruption, I’m reminded of the sad fact that there are so many Snowy Owls around because there is not enough food for them in their normal tundra habitats.

As I watch the Cardinals, Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Carolina Wrens in my snow-covered wildlife garden, I’m thinking about how an Ecosystem Garden can provide the three essential elements these birds must have to survive the cold winter weather.

To care for birds in the winter in your wildlife garden, you can take the following steps:

Provide food: Winter can be a difficult time for birds, as food can be scarce. You can help by providing bird feeders filled with seed, suet, or nectar. Place the feeders in a location that is protected from wind and predators, and keep them filled with fresh food.

Offer shelter: Birds need a place to escape the elements and roost during the winter. You can provide birdhouses or roosting boxes that are well-insulated and protect birds from the wind and cold.

Offer water: While water may be frozen in winter, it is still important for birds to have access to drinking water. You can provide a bird bath or a heated bird bath, or you can regularly check the bird bath to make sure it is not frozen over.

Reduce disturbance: Birds need a calm and peaceful environment in order to conserve energy and survive the winter. Avoid disturbing birds, and keep pets away from bird feeders and birdhouses.

Plant native plants: Providing a diverse array of native plants in your garden will help support birds and other wildlife during the winter and throughout the year. These plants will provide food, shelter, and habitat for a wide range of species.

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