by Jan Doble - posted to the Virginia Gardener Magazine 01/04/11
|Eastern Bluebird and Cardinal|
Summer and Fall are long gone and now we're officially in the midst of winter. If you haven't already, now is a great time to turn your attention to the wonderful variety of birds that call Virginia their home. As a gardener, I feed the birds year-round, but the real action doesn't begin until the weather cools down. Once that first snow falls and the temperature drops to freezing, families of birds in every color move in to dine primarily on what we provide in our feeders. We offer a variety of hardy cuisine, to include black-oil sunflower nuts, hulled sunflower nuts, safflower seed, Niger seed, suet and sometimes peanuts.
What I consider to be most important in getting the birds to come--and to come on a continuous basis--is a source of water. The day we added our heated birdbath was the day I realized just how much of a difference fresh water makes in the birds' choice of winter stomping grounds. When it's snowing, because the water is prevented from freezing, they are lined up along the edges of the birdbath, merrily drinking away. Whenever I look out my window and the birds seem few, I'm alerted that the birdbath needs refilling. It never fails to amaze me how quickly they return once it's filled up again.
Every year, since we added the heated birdbath, we have been thrilled to see large groups of bluebirds, woodpeckers, finches, tufted titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, bluejays, and many others. They come here to eat and drink, and because we have bushes and trees that provide protection, some even make their winter homes here. Others fly back and forth from our yard to a more sheltered area where they make their nests. Each spring they bring their young to learn to eat from the feeders and drink from the birdbath.
I hope you will enjoy reading my posts about attracting birds and wildlife to my yard, as well as everything else plant and nature related that I will share with you. I encourage you to leave comments and share your backyard experiences, as well. Please don't hesitate to ask questions. While I'm not an expert in anything, I will make sure I find an answer or at least direct you to a helpful resource. I look forward to our connection through this online community!
Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble
Written by Jan @ http://www.thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/ Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.