Remember to Feed Our Feathered Friends This Winter!

The movement of migratory birds provides interest in both spring and fall. If you keep an eye out, you can spot grosbeaks and warblers of many different varieties flitting through the shrubs looking for insects. Tanagers, towhees, catbirds, indigo buntings and orioles are just some of the birds to look for as they leave their summer grounds for the warmth of the south.

Bird expert Cean Laverty, who holds informational bird talks at Country Garden, in Hyannis, is one of those lucky souls who has been able to translate her passion into her career.

“Many shorebirds will gather in large groups to start their way south,” at this time, she said. “Then there are those that come down from Canada and stay in our area for the winter. Dark-eyed juncos and redpolls are a couple that come down and join our resident birds for the winter.”

Many species, however, remain and will be looking for food to sustain them throughout the winter months. Cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, several types of woodpeckers and an assortment of different sparrows are some of our resident birds that we can enjoy all year long. The best way to ensure being able to see our feathered friends is to put out a feeder and offer them some good quality food.

“There are many types of feeders but, when the snow starts to fly, I find a feeder with a roof, such as a hopper or fly-through feeder or even just a large dome baffle to hang a feeder from, works best to help keep the snow off the feeder so the birds can find the food easily,” Laverty said. “The feeders I have that do not have a roof or dome, I check often to make sure the ports are not clogged with snow.”

Country Garden has a great selection of feeders and accessories, with prices that can fit any budget. The Country Garden Rewards program, which is free to join, offers double points on all pet and wild bird purchases. This includes bird feeders and bird seed, as well as cat and dog foods, treats, toys, and supplies. Earn a $5 reward after just $50 in purchases, the equivalent of a 10% discount every day.

You will want to offer a quality bird food for the best results at your feeders, she suggested. You want to provide a food that offers protein and high fat, as birds need to eat their weight in food every day for optimal health, and winter time makes this even more important.

“Avoid mixes with red milo, red millet and cracked corn,” she added “Birds will just kick these out of the feeders, as they just do not offer the nutrition the birds need. Wild Delight Outdoor Pet Foods eliminate all the guesswork by offering mixes that are full of sunflower, nut meats, pumpkin seeds and fruit – ingredients that are full of protein, high fat and natural sugars, which will give them the energy they really need for cold winter days.”

You should always offer a good quality mix year round as our migratory birds will benefit from them as much as resident birds, and give them the boost they need as they travel through our area.

“There are two things I look for in a feeder,” said Laverty. “One, is it easy to fill? No one wants to be out in the bitter cold, fumbling to open a feeder to fill it, so it has to be easy to fill. Second, is it easy to clean? It is important to keep your feeder clean to avoid seed clumping and clogging the feeder. After you have picked out a feeder and some good food and found a great spot to place them, you may want to think about a heated bird bath. Winter time makes it even harder for birds to find water, so a heated bird bath will really bring them into your yard for a drink and a bath.”

With the holidays around the corner, a bird feeder makes a wonderful gift for kids or for your favorite birder. Country Garden offers a complete selection of feeders for your local feathered friends, as well as their favorite types of seed and suet. Buy it by the bag or fill your jug from the bulk bins. Country Garden always has a great price on suet- currently 12 cakes for $12, and the best price in town on 40 lb. Black Oil Sunflower seed, $17.99.

Find all your birding needs at Country Garden, on West Main Street, in Hyannis. Visit hyanniscountrygarden.com to check out the most recent sales and specials!

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.



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