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Attract birds during the winter with variety of feeders

bird feedersIn the winter when perennials are sleeping, there is still a lot of enjoyment to be found in the garden.

“Our wild bird friends can be very colorful and are fun to watch from the comfort and warmth of your home,” said horticulturalist Mark Viette of Augusta County.

Bird feeders can be kept outdoors year-round to help feed hungry birds.

“Birds have a high metabolic rate and use a massive amount of energy for flying, so they spend a big part of their lives either eating or searching for food,” Viette explained. “Hanging a bird feeder in your yard can help provide a convenient source of nourishment for local bird populations.”

The trick to attracting a variety of birds to your home is to install a variety of feeders and food choices. Bird feeders and bird foods make wonderful gifts as well, noted Viette, who hosts a garden segment on Virginia Farm Bureau’s Real Virginia television show.

Platform feeders are perfect for ground-feeding birds such as juncos, mourning doves and sparrows. Tube feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds bring in the titmice, chickadees, cardinals and both white- and red-breasted nuthatches. Finches enjoy thistle seed feeders, and suet feeders attract four different species of woodpeckers, as well as nuthatches, chickadees and wrens.

In addition to bird feeders, Viette said it is important to provide a source of clean, fresh water for birds throughout the winter months. “You can buy a simple bird bath heater to keep them from freezing,” he explained. “Bluebirds will flock to this open water source all winter long.”

Once you begin feeding birds, it is important to keep the feeders full, as birds will come to depend on this source of food. When the weather warms up, consider planting seed-, fruit- and berry-producing trees, shrubs and perennials to provide a natural food source for birds and give them hiding places.

For tips on making your own bird treats, food and feeders, as well as pine cone ornaments, visit and click on the “Beyond the Garden” tab and then the link to “Just for the Birds.”

augusta free press
augusta free press