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Birds heading south for Winter?

Q: Two weeks ago I filled my bird feeders; One with Sunflower Seed and one with Wild Bird Seed. Since then we have had below freezing and one day the ground was covered with snow.

I haven't seen any Birds. Was I too late putting out the food and they have gone South?

I miss seeing the birds at the feeder

A: I don't think the birds have all gone south for the winter. Some "snowbirds" stay right here in Ohio instead of going to Florida for the winter!

I think probably the birds just haven't found the seed you've put out. When there's plenty of natural food, like when our wild cherry trees are in full fruit, I don't fill our bird feeders as the birds can get plenty of natural nutrition picking the cherries off of our trees.

When food becomes scarce I begin to fill the feeders again, and usually within a day (but sometimes it takes longer) the birds discover I've put dinner out for them, and soon our yard is aflock with birds.

If you put out sunflower seeds, you should begin to see cardinals (which don't migrate). Cardinals are frequenters of our sunflower seed feeder -- there was a big one there on Thanksgiving.

As I write this answer, I am looking at the sunflower feeder I just filled this afternoon. Already there are about 6 or 7 birds fighting for a spot.

It'll be just a matter of time before the other feeders become alive with activity, and I should think the birds will find your feeders soon, too.

You can also entice birds with a bird bath. In the winter, I put a submersible heater in one to keep the water from freezing. The birds love it -- they can wash up before dinner (something their mothers probably told them they should do!).

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Tom Mugridge

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