Easy winter backyard wildlife tips that even kids will enjoy!
There’s good news for those who didn’t get around to cleaning up autumn leaves, gardens, and/or piles of fallen sticks and branches. These piles make great habitats or temporary hideaways for small animals like birds, rabbits and squirrels. Pick up loose sticks and branches throughout the winter and add to the initial pile. It keeps your yard neat and provides shelter for animals. In the Spring, before clean up, be sure to shake the pile several times over the course of a few days to give any possible habitants a chance to leave before you dispose of the materials. This goes for compost piles which provide cold weather refuge for animals such as worms, toads and some types of (harmless) grass snakes.
Appropriate food for your native birds put out on a daily basis could mean the difference between life and death to wildlife struggling to find a natural foods. Dried mealworms, wax worms and unsalted nuts are an excellent source of protein. Fruit such as citrus and apples can be halved and hung from trees, pushed into forks in the branches or secured to a post. Many animals prefer eating from the ground, so remember to sweep a path in the snow for them before throwing their food down. NEVER FEED AVOCADO TO BIRDS - it doesn’t take much to kill a bird! Different types of berries are perfect for putting in hanging flat tray feeders. Fruit also provides a bit of hydration however they much prefer a readily available source of fresh, unfrozen water.
If you have electric outlets on or near your patio, house or barn the investment of plug in water bowls or heated bird baths to prevent freezing will actually make the care easier for you and the animals will love it! Water should only be 1-3” deep and kept about 15’ from feeding stations. Very interestingly your water source will be much more obvious to birds if the inside of the bowl is dark in color. Tests have shown that reflections from the water are more noticeable to birds and thus used more often. Provide daily fresh water.
Nest boxes of various sizes and attached in your trees, wood fences, buildings will be appreciated by many birds and may provide house for “families” come Spring!
Then go inside and enjoy the beauty of various species eating at your feeding stations. Not sure what kind of birds you’re attracting? Cornell university has a great, free bird app for your phone! Check it out: Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab by Cornell University.
I refer to it often!
Thanks for taking the time to read these tips because ALL LIFE HAS VALUE
Barb Gay - Founder
Wild Again Rescue