Feeding Birds in the Winter

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Feeding Birds in the WinterDuring the fall and winter, birds are not as visibly active as they are during the spring and summer.  You can encourage birds to frequent your yard by providing food and water for them.  If you have shrubs or trees in you backyard, they may well take up residence.  After all, they need protection from predators, as well as food and water.  Survival requires them to seek out places that continually provide shelter, food and water.

Clean water is always a necessity!  Whether birds are passing through, or taking up residence, they need cleanliness and protection as well as food.

The easiest way to attract fall migrants is by offering fruit.  There are many species of birds who will stop for fruit that do not frequent bird feeders.  Suet is also an easy way to feed birds.  I’ve included a recipe for suet feeding below.

Be sure to keep your camera handy and ready when those infrequent visitors stop for refreshments!

 

Recommended Fruit for Fall & Winter Birds

Food for Birds in WinterHere is a list of some recommended fruit for birds.  You may be surprised by some of these suggestions.  You may even find that sharing your own fruit with them is an easy way to finish off an apple or consume all of those grapes in a bunch.  Fruit can be placed on a feeder platform or in a dish placed off the ground.

  • Raisins
  • White Seedless Grapes
  • Quartered Apples
  • Quartered Oranges
  • Apple Jelly
  • Grape Jelly

We don’t always have fruit on hand.  Apple or grape jelly is a great substitute for fresh fruit.

 

Suet Cake Feeding Recipe

Suet is actually natural animal fat that you can get from the meat counter at your local grocery store.  Since it is a high energy food, it is particularly good for birds during the winter .  It makes a good winter option since it won’t melt like it would during the warmer months of the year.

Photo by pmcelvogue

Basic Recipe

  • 2 Cups of Melted Suet
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter

Additional Optional Ingredients

  • Raisins
  • Birdseed
  • Cornmeal

 

Stir the melted suet and peanut butter together until well blended.  Stir in any additional ingredients.  Then, refrigerate until firm.

If possible, it is best to serve the suet in a hanging mesh bag during the freezing months of winter.  The metal feeders that are more convenient for people, can actually be hazardous to birds when frozen.  However, the metal feeders are just fine in cold, but not freezing weather.

 

Ready to Go Suet

If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own suet, there are plenty of ready-made suet packs available.  They are extremely convenient for those times when your birds need food, but you don’t have the time or ingredients for homemade suet.

6 Pack Pine Tree Farms Peanut Butter Suet Cake Wild Bird Food 12 Ounce6 Pack Pine Tree Farms Peanut Butter Suet Cake Wild Bird Food 12 OunceCheck PriceHeath Outdoor Products Suet Cake, 12-PackHeath Outdoor Products Suet Cake, 12-PackCheck Price

 

Bird food for Winter - Suet Cake Recipe

 

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3 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Sandy says:

    HI
    Don’t know if I am using this space as you want but having difficulty finding info on feeding jelly, fruit etc to
    birds in the winter……..mostly about the jelly/fruit FREEZING which it does quickly at times.
    Are birds able to pick frozen jelly & fruits enough to provide them those foods?
    Lots of info on what to feed in winter. Nothing about food freezing.
    Thank You

    • Cynthia Sylvestermouse says:

      If they are small enough bites, birds can and will eat frozen food/fruits. The cardinals in my top photo were definitely eating the frozen food on my concrete bench. Placed in the pile like I have it, the “inside” of the pile didn’t freeze as hard. They shoved the hardened sections away to eat the softer morsels first, but they still ate all of it over a period of a few days.

  2. Sandy says:

    Thank you for the response. I had just Orioles feeding on jelly in the summer. They have left for the winter but I now have house finches feeding on jelly which I have not noticed previously. Very much a surprise which then concerned me about putting out jelly etc during the winter as I usually put away the jelly feeder for the winter.
    They seem to be getting through the snow covered feeder to get the jelly so will keep up the jelly feeding.
    Again, thank you much.

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