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It is possible to attract the wild birds we love to watch in the warm months in the winter as well. We can encourage them to visit our backyards and patios and can enjoy their unique beauty all winter long. If we provide food and shelter, there are a number of different birds that will stay the winter with us.

The birds have a limited time span to gather enough food for winter, and our extra offerings may be just what they need to survive. They normally eat wild foods such as seeds, insects, and nuts. Other birds, carnivores, feed on other animals and insects.

We can provide food for the winter birds by supplemental feeding. Chickadees, nuthatches, finches, grosbeaks sparrows, blackbirds, jays and woodpeckers are attracted by black oil sunflower seeds which is the best offered for winter-feeding. Sunflower seed can be purchased at any garden center. Millet and cracked corn will attract varieties of birds and especially ground feeders.

Beef suet will attract chickadees, nuthatches and other insect eating birds, and is inexpensive. Wire the suet to trees or place in mesh bags and press it into holes and crevices of trees in your yard. Sunflower seeds can be added to the suet.

Leave parts of your garden in tact though the winter with flower seed heads, old fruit berries and nuts, these are natural foods for birds.

*Using chemically treated plywood or boards should be avoided when building a winter house. These can be toxic to birds.
*Don't get lazy, once you begin feeding the birds they depend on your kindness and will rely on you throughout the winter.
*Avoid feeding salty or spoiled foods or sugar saturated foods.
*Clean you feeders to prevent disease. Use one part bleach to nine parts water. Make sure the container is dry before refilling.
*The winter wind and rain is cold. The birdhouse provided, needs to be sheltered and close to a protective cover such as shrubbery.

You may want to purchase a bird idenification book, a set of binoculars, a notebook, and then relax and enjoy your wonderful feathered visitors.