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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Warmth for Birds

For those of you who are not familiar with Wild Birds Unlimited in Hockessin, they are a great store that is worth getting to know AND if you are TLC member, you can receive a 10% discount in their store by showing your membership cardClick HERE to read a full list of participating retailers.  Wild Birds sends out monthly e-newsletters and I thought this recent blurb was worth sharing with our blog readers especially when I woke up this morning to the thermometer reading 8 degrees Fahrenheit!!   

From Our Backyard
Help keep our yard birds warm this winter!
      When the night wind blows and the mercury drops your birds can face hardship just trying to survive. Add to that mix snow and ice, and the poor birds become stressed and hungry. As we all noticed back in September and October birds rely on natural food sources a lot. Most natural seed can be found at or near the ground. A heavy or lingering snow cover like what's outside your window now can reduce a bird's access to seed heads buried beneath the frozen blanket. Birds will expend more physical energy trying to stay warm. Most birds will shiver for short term adjustments to the cold. Shivering converts muscular energy into heat for the short term, but the energy must be replenished shortly thereafter. Sometime you see a bird perching on one foot. What they're doing is pulling the foot closer to their breast for warmth. You might also notice birds appearing fatter or 'puffed up' during cold weather. What they're actually doing is fluffing up their feathers in order to create air pockets for insulation. With the reduction in food sources birds will also have to travel greater distances to find foods. Again more physical activity. Each action requires energy that in turn is fueled by food. Food, be it natural or the bird food you supply, is the most essential element in providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. Your bird feeders and the types of food you place out can be an important and vital source for your birds. High calorie foods like black oil sunflower, safflower, peanuts and suet are critical to a bird's survival. We have not experienced these extreme conditions in several years and neither have your birds. When you look out your window at the cold clear sky and the thermometer reads 15 degrees outside think about where your birds are tonight. When morning comes fill your feeders for now they need you more than ever.
Happy Birding, Charles

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