When making your holiday guest list, don’t forget our local feathered friends! Many birds, including juncos, woodpeckers, chickadees, siskins, grosbeaks, finches, jays and nuthatches live in Colorado all year long. A little extra holiday hospitality can help them weather the long, cold months (and they'll probably be less work than your in-laws!)
Everybody has different favorite holiday foods. For example, some people (correctly, naturally) love cranberry sauce, while some people (foolishly, ridiculously) don’t like it. Birds are no different, so what you put in your bird feeder will depend a lot on which kinds of birds you’re looking to attract. But for near-universal appeal, you can’t go wrong with black oil sunflower seeds or suet.
Black sunflower seeds have a higher oil content than regular sunflower seeds, which means more calories and nutrients for hungry birds. They also have thinner shells for little birds to crunch through, making them a great all-around meal for the winter.
Suet is melted animal fat, formed into blocks and stuffed with peanuts, raisins or other goodies. It’s a high-calorie, high-fat treat that birds just love. Like the bird version of pumpkin pie!
Whatever you decide to feed your birdie boarders, be sure to keep them safe. A feeder in a safe, protected spot will see much more bird traffic. An ideal place would be close to cover like trees and bushes, but still far enough out in the open that predators like cats can’t sneak up on them.
What are the holidays without something to drink? Birds need open water year-round, so they always a appreciate a full, clean bird bath. Even just a saucer full of water next to the feeder helps. Refresh the water each day or use an electric de-icer to keep the bird bath from freezing solid.
Like all holiday guests, birds need a place to crash. Large evergreen trees and bushes are the perfect natural bird hotels. If your landscape is lacking those, you might try putting up a small bird house or roost box. Even a little bit of shelter can help small birds stay toasty warm all winter long!