Beat the Winter Blahs with a Bird-Pleasin’ Buffet

Unless you’re lucky enough to live where flowers bloom all year long (aloha, Hawaii!), winter means plenty of gloomy days. But days are short everywhere, and the winter blahs can all too easily get a grip on you. So try my sure-fire mood booster: feed the birds! It’s hard to stay down when you look out the window and see a busy bunch of cardinals or jays. You’ll get so distracted that, before you know it, the days will be getting longer again and the air will say “spring thaw.”

Winter is peak feeder season since wild foods aren’t regularly available. Here’s how to make your feeders pleasing:

  • Stock up on basic seeds, plus seed specialties. You’ll host plenty of large and small seed-eaters in winter, so be ready!
  • Put out a generous supply of suet and other fats, which are literal lifesavers when temperatures dip below freezing.
  • Try mealworms and other insect foods to attract some unusual birds, such as that neighborhood mockingbird that’s decided to stick it out instead of moving south.
  • Now’s the time to try some of your home cooking on the birds! Hungry birds need extra calories in winter, and they’ll appreciate the  concoctions you make just for them.

Cardinals are one of the cold-weather delights at feeders across the eastern two-thirds of the continent. Enliven the gray days of winter with a flash of red by offering this fruit-flavored treat:

Mix together 4 parts black oil sunflower seeds, 2 parts safflower seeds, and 2 parts cracked corn until well combined. Gently stir in 2 parts chopped dried cherries and 2 parts grapes, cut in half. Serve the feast in an unroofed tray feeder so hungry cardinals can spot the goodies.

For more tips, tricks, and treats for attracting a bevy of birds in any season, check out my Backyard Bird Feeding Bonanza book—FREE for 21 days! From seed to nut and everything in between, you’ll find exactly what over 100 different varieties of birds need to become regular visitors to your own personal Ponderosa.