Jan 05 2017

Do-It-Yourself Made Easy: Winter Bird Care

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3 easy projects to keep our feathered friends fed, hydrated, and protected this winter

 

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Jan. 5, 2017 – The short days, frigid nights, lack of food and water sources make winter tough on the birds in your yard and garden. According to Westlake Ace Hardware, caring for our feathered friends during the coldest time of year is easy and can be accomplished with three, easy projects.

A Wintertime “Bird Buffet”

Providing reliable sources of high-calorie and high-fat foods is essential to helping wild birds survive the winter. To accomplish this, set up two separate feeding stations: one for seed and the other for suet. This will ensure you accommodate the widest array of bird species possible. Locate the feeders in an area of your yard that is protected from high winds.

  • High-fat suet is a wonderful food option to offer birds during the winter months. Made from a combination of nutrient-rich animal fats and seeds, it helps replace scarce insects and provides a high-calorie treat. A Droll Yankees® Double Suet Feeder can be easily and quickly installed near your seed feeder to provide a wide food selection.

 

 The Never-Freeze Hydration Station

During winter, dehydration is oftentimes a bigger threat to birds than starvation. Because most natural water sources are often frozen solid this time of year, think about creating a Hydration Station near your bird feeders this winter. The water source will help them stay hydrated and properly preened. Preening helps keep feathers properly aligned, which is essential for birds to insulate themselves from the cold.

  • The easiest and least expensive way to provide access to unfrozen water is to install a heating element to an existing all-weather birdbath. The heating element will keep the water above freezing, even during the coldest months. Installation is easy and can be accomplished by running a weatherproof extension cord to the birdbath and securing it around the base with zip ties, which will help prevent it from becoming unplugged.
  • If you don’t have an all-weather birdbath, one can be constructed easily by mounting a shallow plastic bowl atop an all-weather planter that has been filled with sand (to provide stability). If desired, you can secure the bowl to the top of the container with sealant, glue or a removable adhesive.

 

A Roof for Roosting

Birds have many natural defenses to help them guard against the cold, mainly the ability to fluff up their feathers. However, on frigid nights and during storms, most birds look for a warm and protected place to hunker down and roost.

  • Add a few birdhouses to your garden to provide protection against cold and wind (even though the birds may not nest there until spring). Easy to install, mount the houses at least five feet off the ground on tree trunks, wooden fence posts or under the eves of a garage or shed. Take care to locate them away from prevailing winds and feeding areas (as it will keep the birds safe from predators).
  • If the birdhouses contain old nests from the previous season, empty them and add a fresh layer of sawdust, grass clippings or straw for extra insulation.

  

About Westlake Ace Hardware

Westlake has been in operation for more than 100 years and currently has 98 neighborhood hardware stores in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. It has been part of the Ace hardware distribution network since 1959, and a wholly owned Ace subsidiary since 2012. Westlake is the largest member of the Ace Hardware Cooperative, giving its customers access to more than 70,000 products—both in-store and by special order—to help them complete numerous household and lawn and garden projects. For more information about Westlake, please visit www.westlakehardware.com.

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