For the birds

Horticulture Hints

With the extremely cold temperatures we have recently experienced, keeping bird feeders full and providing a winter water source is important to keep birds flocking to your yard. Providing shelter for our outdoor feathered friends is another major consideration to entice birds to visit your yard year round.

Protection from wind chill during freezing temperatures when combined with high winds is extremely important. Wind chill is the actual temperature that birds feel, and is not the same as the thermometer reading.

Cover such as trees or shrubs needs to be provided. Good plants for cover include those which are dense with many twigs to provide nesting sites, plants of different heights, and conifers for protection from winter winds.

Birds prefer a feeders placed near a refuge, as to help them to feel protected for a quick getaway, rather than to worry about being Kitty’s lunch.

And if you do own cats, please remember to place your feeders up at least six feet in height, to deter predator access. Be a responsible pet owner and keep your cats indoors where both they and the birds will be the safest.

Wild birds usually don’t need food from bird feeders to survive, as most of their diet comes from natural sources. But birds do need us to help protect their habitat. Making your yard more attractive to birds can help insure future generations can also enjoy feeding the birds.

Did you know? Wind chill temperatures indicate how the wind and cold actually feel on exposed skin. Birds, pets and other animals are affected by wind chill; however, plants and other objects are not. For plants, look at the actual temperature, rather than the wind chill.

Horticulture Questions? Contact McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu for information or advice.

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