Week 39 – Being sick is for the birds

Who made up that saying?  We love the birds!!  Well, Rob was sick last Thursday as well as I was too.  I’m not sure about the other apprentices.  There was no Thursday segment on the 27th because we were all snug in our beds so let’s talk about the birds.

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We really don’t want the birds to get sick too and it’s been cold and snowy here in Colorado and the little chickadees, finches and robins and other bigger birds that have stuck around for our unusually warm weather or just usually stick around Colorado are foraging for food; and since Colorado is not known as the water state there’s not a lot of water for them either.  It’s a great time to feed and water them.  You’ don’t need anything fancy to feed the birds.  An old plate or container or lid can be used as a bird feeder.  Put it out in your yard or on your deck where you can watch them.  You can always get a nice bird feeder and the birds will enjoy it and thank you.

Birds need to eat twice their weight a day to ward off the cold.  They also can’t stay warm with dirty feathers so put out some water for them to bathe and drink.  If you have a dish you can buy an inexpensive electric warmer to place in the dish to keep the water warm in the freezing weather; or just check and change the water every morning.  Again, you don’t need a fancy bird bath but if you want to get one they make a nice decorative item for your garden.  You can also get electric bird baths that attach to your deck railing.

Pick up some seed at your local garden center or grocery or feed store.  If you don’t mind feeding the squirrels, pick up some corn cobs or peanuts.  If you don’t like the squirrels and prefer not to feed them then get some safflower seed.  Most birds like the seed and the squirrels don’t like it.  Black oil sunflower seed is a good choice for all.  I prefer the no waste type of seed that doesn’t produce waste to clean up and also doesn’t drop seed to grow things you don’t want to be growing.  This is usually a mixture of millet, hulled sunflower seeds and other small seeds.  Most bird food mixtures will tell you the type of birds it will feed or attract.  Not only will you be helping the birds but they are fun to watch; so put out a dish of food and water and sit back and enjoy. 

If you have ravens, or blue jays or other big birds they always like some bread.  If you feed ravens make sure you have the water because they like to wash everything they eat (yes, even the bread). 

If you want to have even more fun you buy books about “Cooking for the birds”.  There are some great recipes for suet (great to keep birds warm), and other clever ideas to make feeding the birds more  creative and fun; especially for kids.  Here is one of my favorite recipes for suet:

In large pan melt 1 cup lard and 1 cup crunchy peanut butter over medium heat – add 2 cups quick cooking oats and 2 cups cornmeal and 1 cup flour – roll into balls or spread in a pan and cut into blocks after it hardens – feed to the birds. 

I roll mine into balls and put it in a round wire cage and hang it on a tree.  If I happen to buy squares I just cut them to fit the round wire cage.  Birds can hang on the wire cage and eat the suet and it’s not so accessible to the squirrels.  If the squirrels can get to it, it disappears very quickly.

So far, so fun and here’s hoping we’re all well and will see you next Thursday!!

I believe a couple of Sunday’s ago Rob did a segment on the birds.    Check out this link and take a look:  http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=306623

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About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
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One Response to Week 39 – Being sick is for the birds

  1. pbodwell says:

    From: Dinga Ling in Alaska – Up here,we can never stop feeding chickadees until spring (june) or they will starve. Black hulled sunflower seeds are the favorite!

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