The winter is a great time to observe our feathered friends in our yard. Their color stands out more and there are less obstructions for viewing. It is also a crucial time to provide them with the food, water and housing they need.
Unfortunately, during the winter months, a bird requires a higher caloric intake right when food is the most scarce. The cold weather requires them to burn a lot of calories to stay warm and you need to be sure to keep the feeders in your yard full. ESPECIALLY if you have been feeding them all summer. They become accustomed to the food being there and depend on it. If the food is gone during the crucial winter months, they can starve, as they have not been scouting other food sources.
Another major requirement is a clean, unfrozen water source. Dehydration is just as deadly in the winter as starvation. Not only do they need water to stay hydrated, but they use the water for the all important task of cleaning or “preening”. They preen their feathers to keep them in alignment and stay puffed up. This acts as an insulator from the cold. You need to provide them with some type of bird bath so they can drink and clean themselves. Again, if you do this all through the summer months, it is VERY important to keep it up during the winter.
We tend to neglect our outside activities during the winter and leave things to their own devices. We go inside, stay warm and watch the latest reality show. Our little feathered friends don’t have this luxury. If we have made them dependent on us all summer and suddenly take their food and water away when they need it most, they don’t have a very good chance at survival. We would have served them better not putting anything out at all to begin with.
Please be mindful of this during the winter months and give the little fellas a chance.