We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
BEHIND STICKY FINGERS,
515 Bryne Drive, Unit B
Barrie, ON L4N 9P7
Phone: (705) 726-7600
Fax: (705) 726-1327
Email: Send Message
Mon - Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thurs: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
*For DSC members only. Buy any four suet cakes; get one of equal or lesser value FREE. Valid on in-store purchases only. One discount per purchase. Not valid with other discounts or previous purchases. No rain checks sorry. Offer valid through 01/31/15 at WBU Barrie.
Just as we rely on coats, hats and mittens to keep us warm in the face of winter's icy grip, birds employ a number of methods to survive the adversity of winter. And you can help!
Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights. An ample supply of high-calorie foods such as black oil sunflower, insects and suet is crucial to a bird’s survival.
We can play a vital role, as feeding the birds becomes critical when extremely cold conditions occur. At these times, a supply of food can mean the difference between life and death for a bird.
Most birds will adjust their feathers to create air pockets that will help them keep warm. You will often notice the birds look fatter or "puffed up" during cold weather. This is because the birds are fluffing up their feathers; the more air space, the better the insulation.
Staying warm is not all about food and feathers though. Some birds perch on one leg at a time, drawing the free leg to their breast for warmth. Most birds will shiver for short term adjustments to the cold. Shivering converts muscular energy into heat for the short term, but the energy must be replenished shortly thereafter.
While birds are equipped to withstand most winter weather, survival can be made easier by providing food, a heated, open source of water and protection from the elements with natural plant cover or a roosting box.
Stop by the store today and let us show you which high-energy foods will help your birds brave the cold snap!
While birds are equipped to withstand most winter weather, they obviously can't turn up the thermostat, throw on an extra blanket or whip up a warm cup of cocoa. However, there are a number of ways you can help make survival easier by providing food, a heated, open source of water and protection from the elements.
Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights, and this fat must be replaced every day.
Normally, birds that come to feeders obtain only about 20% of their daily calories from food offered in feeders; the rest come from natural food sources. In contrast, during periods of cold weather, your birds may use your feeders to load up on calories as a means of survival.
Birds continue to need a source of water for drinking to maintain their metabolism during dry, cold weather. Clean feathers help birds stay warm, and a bird bath is often the only way for some birds to drink and keep their feathers in top condition when it’s cold.
Most birds adjust their feathers to create air pockets, which help them keep warm. The soft, fluffy down feathers are puffed up with air to create a warm blanket around the bird. The body feathers lie on top of each other, overlapping like shingles on a roof. Small interlocking barbules, or “hairs,” zip their feathers together to create an airtight windbreaker. Also, most birds preen their feathers with the oil produced by a gland on their backs near their tails to create a waterpoof rain coat. Research has shown that a chickadee with well-maintained feathers can create a 70° (F) layer of insulation between the outside air and its skin.
Birds need a place to escape the elements. Installing roosting and nesting boxes in your backyard can give birds a warm, dry place to stay overnight. Shelter is also necessary for protection against natural predators, such as birds of prey and cats.
Typically, your feeders serve as a supplemental source of food for birds in your yard. In contrast, during periods of cold and severe winter weather, your birds may switch to utilizing them as the critical source of food that enables them to survive from day to day.
A 3-year study in Wisconsin concluded that when temperatures fall below 10 degrees, Black-capped Chickadees without access to feeders have only a 37% survival rate as opposed to the much higher 69% survival rate for those able to utilize feeders.
If chickadees are representative of our other feeder birds, then your feeders can make a big difference in the number of birds that survive the winter.
Also, birds may burn up to 10% of their body weight in stored fat each night to stay warm…and this fat must be replaced every day.
Be sure to keep your feeders filled with the high-energy, high-fat foods that provide your birds with the crucial nutrition they need to survive.
High on the list of best choices to meet this nutritional need is Jim’s Birdacious® Bark Butter®. This peanut butter-based treat is loaded with fat and protein and is known to attract more than 120 species of birds.
Stop by the store soon, and check out the wide selection of energy-packed foods that will help make a true difference this winter…one bird at a time.
You may have spotted a few feathered out-of-towners that are sticking around for winter.
Winter is a great time to look for uncommon bird species. Juncos and other sparrows and finches may be making a repeat appearance in your yard this winter as many of them come back to the same exact location each year.
Keep your feeders full and look for birds associated with “irruptions.” When natural winter food supplies are scarce in northern
Canada, numerous bird species “irrupt,” migrating south in search of food.
The most common irruptive birds are Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, Common Redpolls and Evening and Pine Grosbeaks.
By offering the right food (in the right place), you can better your chances of attracting some of these birds.
Lovers of millet, you can attract Juncos to your yard by offering WBU Deluxe Blend in a ground feeder or hopper feeder. They’re
persistent foragers and have been known to burrow through snow in search of seeds.
These “winter finches” are attracted to Finch Feeders filled with Nyjer® (thistle). You can also attract them to your Seed Tube Feeders by offering Supreme Blend.
If they’re visiting your yard, be ready - they are hungry birds. For best results, offer Supreme Blend in a Hopper Feeder. Before
the 1850s, Evening Grosbeaks were not commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains. Now, winter irruptions can occur across the country.
As you can see, our feathered guests’ tastes and preferences vary, so it’s important to be prepared. Because before
you know it, these out-of-towners will be just that - headed out of town.
Visit us this month, and we’ll make sure you have everything you need to keep your resident birds happy and to attract these winter migrants.