Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)
Barren trees and frozen ground may signify to some that nature has gone to bed until spring, but at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), we know winter is one of the busiest and most dynamic times for our work and for some of Canada’s most beloved species.
Just look outside your window and no doubt you will notice some of Canada’s most interesting birds in your backyard and surrounding areas, busily searching for food in the wintery landscape.
How to attract birds to your backyard this winter
A few tips to make your backyard more attractive to birds this winter:
- Provide a sturdy bird feeder that can stand up to winter weather. Ensure that it’s tight enough to keep the seeds dry. Make sure it doesn’t sway too much in heavy winds.
- Place your feeder in a quiet area, where it’s easy to see and convenient to refill. Find a spot close to natural shelter such as evergreen trees. Make sure the seed isn’t blowing out or getting wet. If it is, move the feeder to a more sheltered spot.
- Think about safety. Make sure the feeder is in a location where predators such as cats can be detected and avoided. Keep the feeder some distance from reflective glass to avoid window strikes by the birds.
- Habitat loss is the leading cause of population declines in many bird species, so planting native vegetation is one of the best ways you can help the birds that visit you this winter.
- In most locations the best all-around attractant is black-oil sunflower seed. Take the time to find out whether your visitors prefer seeds or suet.
- Provide a bird bath and arrange a few branches or stones in the water so that birds can stand on them and drink without getting wet.
Enjoy watching your backyard visitors come and go from your birdfeeder this winter!