We are in the heart of the North American winter in February and the weather can be challenging.
Have you noticed when the weather is nasty, high winds, heavy rain or snow and freezing rain, your feeders are busier?
You can be prepared to help your backyard friends with extra feeders when bad weather brings in larger numbers of birds.
Another feeder, or two, that you can put out quickly if the sudden downturn in weather fills your feeding area with more feathered bodies, can make a big difference in your backyard bird’s survival.
This will reduce the stress of competition at your feeders and allow everyone to get enough food to fuel their bodies and keep them warm.
#2 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide February
2. Do You Offer Hardier Bird Food in the Winter?
You probably know that suet provides a huge energy boost for wild birds in the depths of winter to help them keep warm.
But did you know the addition of mealworms will provide extra protein for fuel to keep feathered bodies warm as well?
You can feed live meal worms and even raise them yourself or, you can purchase freeze dried mealworms.
The freeze-dried ones are very light though because all the moisture has been removed, so you must use a proper feeder, to stop them from blowing away! Feeding Mealworms
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#3 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide February
3. A Good Nights Sleep Is Important For Backyard Birds Too!
In winter, birds will use bird houses as a place to roost for the night (even if you have had no luck with birds nesting in your bird house).
To encourage birds to use a bird house as a nightly roost, try these 4 things to prepare your birdhouse:
Plug the air vents, (which well-constructed bird houses will have).
It is good in the heat of summer to allow the build up of heat to escape through air vents, (a must really) but in winter, it is equally as important to prevent the heat from leaking out.
Even little bodies inside a bird house can produce enough heat to keep warm, when it is kept inside and not allowed to leak out.
What can be used to efficiently plug the air vents in bird houses? Non-toxic materials: weather stripping, cut foam to fit holes or fill with a tiny bit of expanding foam, but ensure that you have given it plenty of time to cure before allowing birds to enter the house, as fumes will be released from the foam and could be fatal.
Add bedding for the birds with a little dried grass or wood shavings to help with insulation and cleanliness.
Do not add cloth as it will hold moisture, especially cotton and make the roost damp.
Add perches for the birds to sit on inside the house by inserting twigs or doweling cut to size.
If possible, take the front panel off your birdhouse and then flip it upside-down before re-attaching it so the door to the birdbox is now at the bottom of the front panel. This simple renovation will also keep the heat that builds up inside the house from finding its way out.
Just before the return of the spring birds, all these modifications will have to be undone.
Perches will need to be removed, bedding material cleaned out, air vents unplugged, and the front panel reversed to allow the door to be once again positioned at the top, so the house is all set for house hunters!
#4 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide February
4. How Safe Are Your Birds Where Feeders & Baths Are Located Right Now?
Are your birds more vulnerable to domestic and feral cat attacks where your feeders are placed?
Are you noticing that birds are regularly hitting your windows?
How To Minimize Cats Killing Songbirds?
The best, safest, and in many municipalities, most lawful method of
keeping birds safe from cat attacks is to keep cats indoors and provide a
protected outside area for cats to enjoy the outdoors in.
If keeping cats indoors is beyond your control then:
Stopping seed from falling onto the ground will be a big help.
Removing anything cats can hide behind near where birds feed on the ground.
Have a water gun handy to spray the cats when you see them in the vicinity of your feeders (not recommended in freezing temperatures).
5. Why Is The Middle Of February A Momentous Time Of Year for Your Birds?
Their inner clocks start to flip!
What that means is, those birds who have migrated south begin to think about heading back north, or, do more than think about it, they start!
All North Americans should be happy dancing because their return is imminent!
What will you do to help them when they return?
Last month we talked about erecting a bird house and making decisions on purchasing new backyard bird equipment like bird feeders, poles, hooks etc. Which leads us to…
Making those purchases now, so they will be ready for the birds return. If you decided in January that you needed to purchase some new bird feeding items for the spring season then, now is the time to order them to have everything set out in the yard waiting. You may find these selections helpful.
#6 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide February
6. What Has Convenience To Do With Wild Birds?
Now that we are in the middle of winter, are your feeders and bird baths conveniently placed in your yard so you can easily get to them when they need cleaning, refilling or require snow and ice removal?
Are your cleaning supplies handy in one place for quick access?
Is your bird food nearby for easy re-filling when feeders are low?
Do you have a broom or brush by the door that you use to access your feeders, so you can quickly get out to brush off accumulating snow and ice on your feeders and hooks (where birds land)?
Will the temperature of the ground allow you to move them now if you need to, or should you make note of this in your plan for next fall to move feeder poles or bird baths closer, before the ground freezes up?
Arranging all your bird feeding supplies in a convenient location, where it does not take time to gather them up, will help tremendously to put off procrastination when it is time to clean, re-fill or brush off your feeders keeping our wild bird friends healthy, safe and happy.
#7 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide February
7. Are You Ready For It?
Every month 1 – 4 times, depending on your areas temperature, you will need to “un-soil” (wash) bird feeders, bird baths, poles and hooks.
That is the “last Must Do” for our feathered friends in February, but definitely not the least important!
Yes, number seven is part of every months 7 Must Do's as it is indeed the most necessary part of feeding wild birds in a responsible manner and keeping wild birds safe from disease.
Enjoy your feathered friends more with this Bird Watching Guide February!
More About Winter Bird Feeding
Winter Bird Feeding
Bird watching in the winter months provides many rewards for us. We
can’t help ourselves from wanting to assist them by putting out a bird
Where are they in Winter? A question often asked is answered: "I have been getting more birds
each summer, but why do they still completely disappear each winter?"
Bird Watching Guide December The first month of hard winter season is here. This guide provides direction through the busy holiday season to ensure our backyard buddies have the supplies they need to have a good winter.
Bird Watching Guide January Bird feeding in the depths of January is wonderful to enjoy and a perfect time to plan for the coming year.