Watching colorful birds flit to and from bird feeders enchants when winter’s brown and white overwhelm the outdoors. Berries, insects and other usual food sources for birds have disappeared or are covered by snow in winter. So it’s especially important to provide nutrient dense food for birds. These foods include suet with seeds, peanuts, oil sunflower seeds (black shells without stripes) and niger (thistle) seed. You’ll likely see an uptick in bird visits when temperatures are near zero or below it. Birds need to intake more calories to counteract the deep cold so keep feeders full. You may need to refill more than once or twice daily.
Hang it from a tree branch, or place it on the ground or on a deck rail, depending on the habitat. Feeder can simultaneously offer a variety of seed, but it is easy pickings for squirrels. You can accept this or provide a squirrel feeder elsewhere in the yard.
Attracts: mourning doves, juncos, sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, flickers, goldfinches
A covered one will keep seed dry. Feeder can simultaneously offer a variety of seed, but it can be robbed by squirrels. To counteract this, use a baffle and place the feeder far enough away from trees, fences or other places squirrels can jump from.
Attracts: chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, pine siskins, house finches, cardinals, blue jays
Thistle (niger) feeder
Squirrels dislike the tiny seeds.
Attracts: goldfinches, pine siskins, chickadees, redpolls
Sunflower seed tubes
The seeds attract a wide variety of songbirds. Squirrels can be pests, so use a baffle and place tube where squirrels can't jump to it.
Attracts: chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, house finches, pine siskins, cardinals, downy woodpeckers
Buy a suet block or make your own. Melt beef fat or solid vegetable shortening, stir in seeds, pour into flat pan, cool and cut into blocks that fit the feeder.
Attracts: chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, brown creepers, wrens, warblers, titmice
Peanuts in the shell feeders
The nuts provide a high-calorie boost in winter. Squirrels love peanuts, too, so use a baffle and watch placement of the feeder.
Attracts: blue jays, woodpeckers