I’m sure we have all notice that winter, if not here, is certainly ‘tap, tap, tapping’ on our chamber door and so it may be a good time to take a moment to consider those less fortunate than ourselves; the ones that make a living outside our warm and weatherproof house.
Winter winds bring a need for more calories for everyone and many, like myself, naturally gain a few extra pounds when the cold months arrive. And though I like to blame it on the holiday season (and would except my holiday tend to start in the beginning of November and lasts well into March), it is more just a natural progression of the seasons. In order for a body to make heat, it requires fuel. The more cold weather, the more fuel it requires to keep everything healthy and warm. As indoor inhabitants we sometimes forget what is needed to survive the winter but we can help out our wild friends by stocking some tried and true ‘best sellers’ in our birdfeeders. Added treats like suet and dried berries are great, and of course the gold standard- lots of black oil sunflower seeds, preferably shelled as it requires less energy to consume for the wildlife. For them, each calorie counts.
Different levels of feeders can encourage different birds. Some birds prefer eating from the ground like the mourning doves or cardinals and ground feeders also help out rabbits and the occasional raccoon or opossum. Remember to place feeders where it will be easy to fill so that a food source is going to be somewhat reliable.
Heated birdbaths are everyone’s favorite meeting place and are one of the most heavily used areas in my yard during the snow covered months. One is on a pedestal, the other on the ground.
I also leave my birdhouses up for shelter for whoever should find it cozy. Roosting boxes are a wonderful addition to the yard and during stormy or very cold weather they are as booked as any five star hotel during a convention.
If dogs rule your yard, as mine once did, simply move some stations out of the fenced area. I did keep some within the dog’s reach though, even if it was naughty because I loved watching them try for the squirrels and quite honestly, they couldn’t catch them so all I really did was delay dinner a bit for the wildlife. (See how I can rationalize to make my faults look not so bad...takes practice.)
A warm place to sleep, some extra calorie treats, fresh water and a few small considerations can make all the difference in surviving a winter if you are not blessed with a heated home and stocked refrigerator.
We can change the outcome for so many with very little effort and the Christmas season, this season of charity, is a wonderful time to begin the sharing of fortunes.