Helping Birds Survive Winter!

Robin’s Birds

Hi, I’m Robin. Let’s work together to conserve our local birds by learning & sharing our tips and experiences!

How Can We Help Our Local Birds Survive Such Ridiculous Cold!?
Let’s face it. It is ridiculously cold out today! It is a balmy 12 degrees. I have no idea why this Robin (me) stays here in the winter, let alone the 20 plus American Robins I saw in my yard yesterday! I can’t believe all birds don’t migrate to avoid this bitter cold and lack of food and yet, many more are deciding not to migrate now. This cold snap seemed like a good topic to start my bird-blogging career with! Turns out that birds that choose this winter misery actually have a few unique strategies to survive the freezing temperatures. Just like we humans will cuddle, or huddle to stay warm, birds also crowd together in trees like you see the Mourning Dove and House Finch below doing to share body heat. Some shelter in trees as the Eastern Screech Owl from Longmeadow is doing below. I recently learned from the Mass Birding group on Facebook that Eastern Bluebirds actually stack themselves on top of each other inside hollow tree spaces to conserve and use each others body heat. I personally would not like to be the bird at the bottom of THAT pile of birds! Some of you may have seen birds use their own bodies to conserve heat too. They can shiver as the Tufted Titmouse below is doing or fluff their feathers to create pockets of insulation with air as you see with the American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch and Dark-eyed Junco below. Other times, I see birds raising one leg at a time or tucking their head into their bodies like the Mallard and Canadian Goose below.

How can we help our feathered friends to make it through the bitter cold? Well, they need a LOT of food to keep their metabolism going to create heat and energy. The natural bugs etc. we see the Downy Woodpecker foraging for below are gone now. So, we can feed them. Being a crazy bird lady myself, my birds have quite the set-up going on. I have like 5 different feeders plus I made homemade suet for them. The Carolina Wren below actually appreciates my cooking LOL! Different birds like different types of foods, though most will eat any kind in a pinch. Birds also need water to survive. My heated birdbath needs refilling daily as so many birds visit it daily, such as the Eastern Bluebird you see here. I cannot even imagine swimming in the ice-rimmed waters now as I see ducks and geese do. But even our backyard birds brave the ice as you see the Mourning Dove below doing. And, many birds still bathe now if given the chance. I watched 2 Tufted Titmice take a bath yesterday! They need to keep their feathers clean and dry to keep the heat inside them.

Finally, birds need shelter of some sort. I always put my Christmas tree outside on my deck or porch for the rest of the winter. It is close to my food so that they can fly to it quickly when Mr. Bald Eagle or Red-tailed Hawk decide to visit next. I will tell you that you should remove it as soon as it starts getting warm. Last year, I waited too long and had to leave the almost dead tree on my front porch all spring. It was literally a condo for like 5 House Finch families to raise babies in-totally worth looking at the dead tree! Many birds take shelter in birdhouses if they are available. There are different sizes etc and locations-for another blog. Finally, there is not a lot of natural materials available now to put inside nests and houses as you see the chickadee in Fannie Stebbins in Longmeadow doing here. So, I also put out nesting materials. You can buy these or make some. I keep the fur pile that is created when I brush my Maine Coon Cashie and create holders from my recyclables. The Black-capped Chickadee used one of these last spring as you can see below. (Birding on a budget will be another blog LOL.)

Well, that is it for now! I will be working on the site some more. I will be posting pictures and tips about how I attract and enjoy our local winter birds to my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too soon. I hope you all follow me and comment and share your own pictures and tips too! I find that the birds give me the motivation to get out of my own head and out of my house for exercise-when it is not 12 outside, that is. I hope you like the site. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I have wanted to create a bird resource for SO long! Robin 🙂

Note-I needed to update my post page to be able to have all blog posts together. So, I lost your original comments. I think I have it set now and will put a link to the original blog with comments I answered here. I REALLY appreciate the comments and promise not to lose them next time……I hope anyway! https://robins-birds.com/blog-2/?fbclid=IwAR396rDI_UQGpSzporiJbPjHHFqsH9j9paynlHrkPjG31FsyaZpB0eNy4ro

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