Welcome to my Bird Blog!

Welcome to all my fellow bird lovers and gardeners! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Migratory bird populations have taken a nose dive in the past 40 years. But you can help bring their numbers back by creating beneficial, beautiful and fun habitats in your own backyard. Discover favorite plants and environments that shelter and feed colorful songbirds, as well as how to make them feel welcome by offering their preferred natural foods.

Grandma Pearl
(Connie Smith)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top 5 Best Foods to Help Birds Stay Warm

These beautiful blue jays are suckers for pieces of bread crust, or day old bakery items like rolls, whole grain bread, etc.  My chickadees and juncos also enjoy smaller pieces of the same items.  Fat and starches help birds maintain their metabolic rates.  Bakery products should not be offered exclusively, though.  Here’s a list of the top five foods to help wild birds stay warm even in the coldest weather:
1.  Black oil sunflower seed
2.  Suet
3.  Peanut Butter, offered on a special feeder, or slathered on barkdowny woodpecker enjoying peanut butter log
4.  Bacon grease soaked up by pieces of white or whole grain bread
5.  Fruit & Nut blend available commercially
Because many birds can easily assimilate black oil sunflower seeds, I have listed it first.  It contains all kinds of good fats, and vitamins and minerals to help maintain birds flight feathers as well as their metabolism.
gold finches feeding on ground resized
The above image shows some of my Goldfinches in their winter plumage.  On top of the fresh snow I often toss sunflower seeds, which they seem to relish!
You can make your own suet, or buy it at your local big box hardware store, garden center or wild bird food center.  I have also found it in my grocery store and at large discount retail stores.  It isn’t hard to make your own, though.  And I find it more cost effective.  Here’s How
If you wish to offer peanut butter, you need to remember that it is oily and will leave a residue on any surfaces it contacts.  Slather it on tree bark that you don’t mind becoming a little discolored.  Keep in mind that other critters can easily find it, like my persistent red and grey squirrels, flying squirrels, raccoons, possums and mice.  Any tree-climbing animal will adore you!
Every now and then I crave bacon—real bacon, not the turkey kind!  When I do, I break up pieces of bread into the still warm grease.  Once it has cooled completely, I serve it to my birds on a platform feeder.  It doesn’t last long!  Birds love bacon just as much as people.
The fruit and nut blend I buy includes unsalted shelled peanuts, canary seed, grit (which is essential for bird digestion), pieces of dried cherries, raisins, white proso millet**, black oil and grey striped sunflower seeds, dried pumpkin seeds and bits of shelled walnuts.  A little goes a long way, so I offer a small amount each day in my basket feeder.  Blue jays, finches, chickadees, tufted titmice and woodpeckers all stop by many times during the day for this special treat.
**White Proso Millet is a favorite with my Dark-Eyed Juncos.DSCF0012  female junco resized
bird feeder basket attracts its first visitor a chickadee but out of focus
This basket feeder is easy to make, and it attracts a variety of wild birds all day long. 
How to Make an Easy Basket Feederchickadee perched on bird feeder basket excellent
Grandma Pearl

How to Make Suet
How to Make an Easy Bird Feeder Basket

Peanut Butter Feeder
Fruit & Nut Blend
White Proso Millet

The Juncos I Have Come to Know
Beautiful Blue Jays


Shauna said...

Who knew birds like bacon! I guess it is a universal favorite. Just the smell of bacon will make anyone hungry.

You sure treat your feathered friends well, Pearl. I'm sure they appreciate you and tell all their friends that you have the best bed and breakfast in town!

Connie Smith said...

You're right, Shauna, bacon is a well-loved food, and not just for humans! Did you know that birds love the taste of eggs, too? Chicken eggs, that is. So I really do have a bed and breakfast here!