Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chilly Birds and Pets

This blog about winter bird and pet care is at the suggestion of Judy. She has been watching her local birds and the cold weather has her thinking about their well being. In fact all of the Garden Time team has been thinking about the cold weather and how we can help our feathered friends and pets.
The number one rule is to provide protection. If you have pets and they need to go outside, they need protection. Let them out to do their ‘business’ on the protected side of your house. Go outside with them, when you start to get cold, they are probably cold too. Don’t just let them outside by themselves. Most of the bird population will find their own protection but there are ways you can help. This past fall we left part of our garden with untrimmed bushes so they could find protection in the branches. Some will leave pile of yard debris to help the smaller birds.

The second rule is to provide water. This bird bath is absolutely worthless during cold and wintry days like these.

We have left the water running in our water feature so our bird friends can get a drink if they need one. For you pets, if you have water dishes outside, check them for ice. Just because they are under cover doesn’t mean that they won’t get frozen over.

The third rule is to provide food. We stocked our bird feeders with black oil sunflower seeds. These are a good all-purpose feed for your seed loving birds. We have neglected to keep our suet feeder full for our insect loving birds, but we will fill it as soon as we get a new suet block. The one thing we don’t have is a hummingbird feeder. These types of feeders need special attention. Because they are a liquid feeder they need to be watched to make sure they don’t freeze.
Finally, you need to be consistent in your approach to caring for your birds or pets. If you start providing feed and water, you have to continue providing it as long as it remains cold (and perhaps longer). If you need more tips or help in being a friend to your outdoor animals, check out the Audubon website ( or the site for the Backyard Bird Shop (

Stay Warm!
Garden Time Producer

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