Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well, it’s winter again in Wisconsin. And for most of us, frozen ponds and lakes means ice skating and fishing. But for our feathered friends who brave the Wisconsin winter alongside of us, it means there is no water available for bathing and drinking. That is where we, as friends of wildlife, come in. During the winter months it is imperative that we keep clean, heated birdbaths in our yards so our feathered friends have access to fresh water. Our avian neighbors would greatly appreciate it if the bath was rinsed and refilled with fresh water daily. Also, by cleaning it with a mixture of bleach and water once a week, it will keep harmful bacteria from accumulating.

Of course the birds also need a reliable supply of fresh food throughout the winter months too. Not only is food more scarce during this time, a layer of snow or ice makes finding that meal even more difficult. As with birdbaths, keeping feeders clean and free of bacteria is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Generally, soaking your feeders in a bleach solution and then rinsing them off every 3 months or so will do the trick.

As you know, every living thing needs 3 things to survive; water, food, and shelter. We’ve got the first 2 covered, so what about the 3rd? Well, both natural shelters like tree cavities, as well as man-made ones like vacant bird houses work well for many species. Some of us however, who choose to have real Christmas trees in our homes for the holidays, have another great option. Placing these trees in your yard can provide excellent shelter and warmth for birds and other small animals. Just be sure to remove all decorations first, especially those shimmery “icicles” and as much tinsel as possible.

At the Wildlife In Need Center, our native resident animals are an important part of our operations as well. One of the most visited feeders we have sits in front of our office window. Below is a list of just a few of the amazing winter-surviving bird species that have graced us with their presence this winter. Have you seen all of these birds or more?

Northern Cardinal
Dark-eyed Juncos
Mourning Dove
American Goldfinch
House Finch
Blue Jay
House Sparrows
Red-bellied Woodpeckers
Tufted Titmouse
Black-capped Chickadees
Downy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers
and more!

A Black-capped Chickadee sits in a hor-frost covered tree outside WINC's office to have his picture taken (or maybe he was just waiting to get back to the feeder...)

Got a great shot of your favorite backyard neighbors? If you send them to us to use in some of our new promotional materials and we end up using it, we send you a gift and our gratitude too!

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