What can birds eat during the winter months when they live in the north and have to endure many months of snow and cold weather?  Well, there are fruit bearing trees and shrubs that can meet some of their needs as well as plants that provide seeds.  So, I'd recommend that if you want to enjoy seeing birds in your yard year-round, make certain your yard has many of these plantings that can be a food source during the winter months.

Or, buy lots of birdseed, nuts, fruit and put it outdoors for the birds.  Robins no longer migrate South and have been wintering in NJ for a number of years.  They hit up our Holly Trees when the berries are ripe and the ground is covered in snow making it difficult for them to find bugs.   

Most other birds will enjoy the seed as long as it's a good mix of many varieties. 

Plan ahead when you are landscaping or buying plants, not just for beauty but for the bounty they provide our feathered friends and you will be able to enjoy birds year-round.
We are well into Fall and we've finally had our first true frost in the Northeast, so it's time to ensure that you prep feeders, birdbaths and houses so that your birds can survive the winter and thrive in the Spring.

The birds are continuing to use the birdhouses around our yard.  They hide from predators, get in from the cold, wind and rain and also nest.  But, these birdhouses have to be cleaned out before Spring, otherwise some of them get too jam packed with nesting material for birds that are truly looking to nest and lay eggs.  So, this is the perfect time of year to clean them out so they will be ready come Spring.  In fact, we have one popular birdhouse that has had several nests built on top of one another so, cleaning it out is an imperative.

Also, feeders need to be cleaned and readied for birdseed.  Birds appreciate a clean feeder and in fact will not use one that is not clean.  Rain and dirt get into some feeders and render the seed useless.  So, before you put out that feeder, clean it out well with soap, water and bleach.  Just please rinse well and dry before use.

May I recommend you purchase a birdbath heater if you have not already done so.  We feature one that I use regularly and it works like a champ. You can find it featured at the bottom of our Bird Bath page HERE  

The flowers have brought fruit for the birds to enjoy on the Viburnum.  The birds are feasting and as you can see from this photo, they've begun eating the berries.  These are the most beautiful shrubs.  In the Spring they bring beautiful white flowers that are a feast for our eyes and in Summer, the red berries appear and provide sustenance for the birds.  And, the plants grow to be 8 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide so they make a wonderful border plant between yards. 

Spring is nearly here and we can hardly wait given the long cold winter we survived in the Northeast.  It is time to get your bird houses in shape for birds who will be soon seeking nesting  houses.

Just take each house, open it up and clean it out so that it is ready to accept a new nesting pair.  We find that the same pairs seek the same house out each year to make their nests and birds do have "favorite" houses.  Our most popular bird houses are the ones that are up on top of a post.  They are well away from branches and the ground making it more difficult for predators (racoons, bears, snakes) to reach the nests. 

Also, you will want to scrub your birdbaths with bleach and water and make sure you've scrubbed away any scum buildup that may have occurred over the winter.

And, same for the feeders.  Our feeders really got a workout over this winter and we continue to feed the birds throughout the Spring so that they can focus on having their young and not having to worry as much about food sources.  It's important for the health of the birds that the feeders are clean and well maintained.

Enjoy.  You'll hear the tender chirping of young birds in a few weeks.

This deer had been hanging out in the yard for awhile, but on this day, she did not look well.  We noticed that when she came to take a drink out of the bird bath, she had a runny nose and just did not look well.  We called many NJ rescue groups to request assistance and advice as to how we could help this poor doe, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do.  We had to let nature take its course.

That evening, she sought refuge under the deck and she died the next morning (after kicking out in a death thrall and breaking the basement window, which has now been fixed thanks to Basking Ridge Mirror & Glass.)

Well, now what?  We found a guy who removes deer carcasses from yards and he came the next day to bag and remove the deer.  He was responsive and extremely pleasant.  Should you find yourself in need of his services, just give him a call.  His name is Raul Soto, and his company is called "All Stages Pest Control". 
(973) 302-4144. 

Spotted these thirsty robins taking a drink today despite the well below freezing temperatures outside.  Luckily, the birdbath had not frozen over because of the heater we have plugged in that keeps the water from freezing.  The birds and squirrels sure do appreciate having fresh water to drink all year round.  If you are interested in purchasing this particular heater, check out the model we recommend and have used for 17 years by clicking on this LINK.

The temp this morning is well below freezing and the birds are flocking to the feeders to enjoy a morning meal.  Glad we have plenty of seed and have ensured our feeders are clean and ready for the onslaught.

The squirrels are also enjoying the peanuts we place in their "nut house" and of course we through seed on the ground for them as well as the ground feeding mourning doves and other birds.

It look like it will be a long winter so if you want to continue to keep your yard as a haven for birds, then provide them shelter, feed and water and you will see them all winter long.

Winter has come early this year as much of the country has already had snow.  As a nor'easter bears down on the Northeast today and many will see snow again this year (sorry Buffalo, NY), it is important that you've prepared your yard so that the wild birds will have additional sources of food, water, shelter to make it through the winter.

Stock up on wild bird feed and store in a steel garbage can or rubber/plastic sealed container to prevent unwanted intrusion by mice and other hungry critters.  We buy 50# bags of seed from Somerset Grain & Feed, a local store that provides excellent pricing and customer service.

Make sure your bird feeders are clean and in good shape.  We keep our feeders for many years but they need to be maintained to keep birds healthy.
  Make sure you clean them out well to remove dirt and green stuff that can accumulate if feed gets wet from the elements.  Hot water, soap and a long narrow scrub brush will do the trick nicely.

If you are seeking some new feeders that the birds will love, check out the feeders we feature and use by clicking HERE.

And, remember to buy a heating element to keep your birdbath water from freezing over.  We recommend one we've been  using for 17 years and may be found by clicking HERE.

If you've planted your yard with plants that bear fruit and seeds, or have holly trees, you are providing the birds with a natural food source to sustain them through the winter.  Robins especially go for the red berries on the Holly trees. 

Your birds will seek out your yard as you've created a haven in which they can thrive.

The birds are really enjoying the birdbaths this fall.  They are taking baths, drinking and socializing.  With all of the activity, the birdbaths get dirty and need to be cleaned regularly (every 2 weeks is ideal).  We use a mixture of bleach and water and scrub the birdbaths with a brush.  The slime and dirt is washed away.  Be sure to rinse out well before you fill again with clean water.

And, with the colder weather approaching, be sure to buy a heater that you can attach to an electrical cord, plug in and provide a mild source of heat to the water that will prevent it from freezing.  To find the heater that we use (and have been using without incident since 2000), see this LINK which will take you to our resources page.  The heater we've featured is terrific and your birds will be most appreciative.

It's that time of year when we should prepare our bird houses for winter.  You'll want to clean them out (best to wear gloves) and then put them back out as they make a great place for birds to seek shelter during snow storms.

You will also want to consider putting up roosting boxes (idenified with holes at the bottom of the house as opposed to the top) so that birds can seek shelter during storms.

And, get your feeders ready by making sure they are clean and ready for seed.  Just wash well with soap and water and let them dry.

We also make sure our birdbaths are scrubbed clean using bleach and water and then we rinse very well to eradicate any bleach from the bath.  You will want to be sure to purchase an inexpensive but invaluable birdbath heater by clicking on the link embedded HERE.  You can find more resources for birdbaths HERE.



    Jacqueline Totten is a bird lover whose backyard is a true haven for many different wild birds, squirrels, deer, rabbits, fox and an occasional bear.  She keeps the local Feed & Grain in business during the winter months with the amount of bird seed purchased.


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