How to Create a Winter Habitat for Birds
If there’s one thing we southerners love, it’s our backyard birds. There’s something enjoyable about watching birds fly around and chirp with each other in the yard. However, as brutal as the winter months can be to us, it can be even more challenging to our feathered friends. Many trees and shrubs become bare during the cold weather, eliminating their primary sources of shelter and food. To help provide food, water, and shelter to your backyard buddies, consider creating a welcoming habitat that will prepare them for cold weather.
For instant impact, you can create brush piles that will provide a safe haven and attract food sources to the area. Be sure to always have bird feeders and water stations filled, and try to place them near trees and shrubs for easy access. Black oil sunflower seeds are ideal for winter, since they provide the highest calories per ounce!
To build out your yard accommodations even more, consider planting native trees and shrubs in your landscape. This creates a year-round source of shelter and food for birds. Plants like wax myrtles, hollies, and American red cedars are great options! Other items to plant include native grasses like bluestem and broomsedge, which are also great for shelter.
Don’t forget about water! Since temperatures in our region do not remain below freezing often, there’s not much concern for frozen water. Still, check on any birdbaths or fountains during extreme cold weather to make sure there is clean, flowing water available for them.
Creating an oasis for backyard wildlife is something many homeowners strive to do. Extension Publication 2402, “Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat,” offers all the resources and ideas you’ll need to create a space wildlife will thank you for!
Learn more about how to identify backyard birds, how to adjust binoculars for backyard birdwatching, and how to choose backyard birdfeeders in our previous blog posts.
Learn how to keep backyard birdfeeders and bird baths clean in this Extension Outdoors column. Regular cleaning reduces the opportunity for disease spread among backyard birds, especially during winter when birds congregate at these features in high numbers.
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