While the early fall here in the Ottawa area was quite tumultuous when it came to weather, things have seemed to have calmed down quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. Entering into a more “seasonal” temperature bracket, our migrating birds have left us and we have been treated to additional sightings to those passing on through our area.

The transition is still underway in many ways, as we patiently await our northern species to arrive for the winter months. That said, there is much to take care of while the weather is still comfortable outside as we prepare for another exciting season of birding.

As we get ready for Christmas and the winter birding season, here are some things to keep in mind to keep your backyard birds adequately sheltered and well fed as the mercury continues to drop.

Feed

As Bob is famous for saying; “birds eat to create heat”, it couldn’t be truer from now until the warmer weather in the coming spring. For many of us, that means slowly transitioning into a heartier diet and some more variety of foods out in our yards. Firstly, this time of year is a great time to change the seed you offer your backyard birds. Once finished with the last of our spring and summer blends, now is a great time to switch over to our winter blends filled with much-needed carbohydrates and fats to help our birds stay warm throughout the day and night. Both our Seasons Urban Blend and Seasons Woodland Blend change in late fall, because all of our blends are built with a very high food value for our birds they out perform at the feeder attracting far more birds, by doing so we also have a much higher consumer value.

 

Additionally, suet season is officially upon us. While we do carry a blend specially-formulated for the summer months, winter truly is best suited for tasty suet. Another food source rich in healthy fats, they are great at attracting acrobatic visitors such as nuthatches, woodpeckers and many of our other favorite winter birds.

suet-feeder-in-winter

Yard Maintenance

This is more of a personal preference rather than a requirement. This is the time of year we all enjoy getting out and organizing our yards before the snow flies. As we put away the summer tools, close our pools and tend to our gardens one last time, it’s a great time to clean out and/or remove any nesting boxes in your yard. It’s also a great time to add a heated bird bath to your yard, this supports our birds more with a water source than a bathing spot, that said they still do splash off during the winter. By providing water during the winter our birds don’t have to expend energy to search for water and or to convert snow into water. This then again brings more birds to your yard.

For those that opt to keep them up, they can be a welcome roosting refuge for some winter birds during high winds and especially cold days. We also have roosting pouches designed to provide night time protection.  As such, clean out any nesting debris left over from the spring or summer to prevent any possible infection to winter residents. Other folks opt to clean out and remove the boxes all together to keep them in tip-top shape ahead of next year’s nesting season.

The choice is yours, Personally, I like to have my boxes out all winter, keep an eye on them. You’ll be surprised how many birds will use them during the cold winter nights.