It’s too cold to step out during winters, especially with the temperature zeroing and going below than that in most parts of the world. But with the comfort of room heaters and other insulated gadgets or even a fireplace inside the house, we can relax under fuzzy blankets and sip on some hot chocolate. However, this isn’t the same case for some of our feathered companions. We have to resort to measures that will keep the bird warm in winter.
In addition to all the love and affection we provide to our birds, we must also ensure that these beautiful avian buddies stay warm during harsh winters. One of the major concerns for most birders is finding a way to keep their birds warm in winters as the majority of the pet birds that we domesticate hail from tropical regions, and their physical structure is built to cope with the heat. It’s easier for them to live through a hot summer than endure the harshness of a frosty winter. Hence, it is vital to avail all possible means to keep them tucked in a warm, frost-free environment. It is vital to keep the bird warm in winter to prevent sickness and other adversities.
Winter Birds and Feeders
In the case of winter birds, they too need to be well fed and taken care of during winters even if they can sustain cold weather. Birds are known to have a higher metabolism than human beings because of their warm blood. This, along with their excellent adaptation feature, benefits them in keeping themselves warm. Although they may have easy physical adaptability, they may fail to keep changing their body temperature when there is a sudden drop in the weather condition. Therefore, feeding these birds with nutritional bird food pellets and keeping them safe in a well-sheltered environment becomes a necessity. It will help to keep the bird warm in winter.
Now, to provide proper nutrition to these birds, it is essential first to find ways to feed them. Bird feeders are the best option for attracting birds that fly down to your porch or backyard in search of food. You can place them in a particular spot in your backyard or garden, which is easily accessible to them. However, sometimes due to heavy snowfall or frosty weather, the feeders may get damaged or clogged, resulting in damaging the bird food. It is advisable that birders might have to invest some money into getting a winter bird feeders that do not get damaged easily and can be used throughout the season.
The winter feeders come with a design that drains out the water from the in-built reservoir and keeps the bird seeds dry. Some of these feeders come with a cover. If they don’t, then placing some recycled materials such as a crystal bowl or an umbrella to cover the feeder can help.
Placing these feeders in a well-sheltered area works best. A regular clean-up of the snow and ice is also required so that the birds can snack on the seeds easily. Refilling the feeders regularly with seeds high on fats and calorie, ensuring the feeders are well secured, repairing and replacing them are other important responsibilities of the birder. Some birds like to feed on the ground, so don’t forget to leave some seeds on the ground as well. You should also ensure that the birds are well hydrated since they need water even during winters. It will aid in keeping the bird warm in winter.
There are varieties of bird feeders available that range in different sizes, shapes, and types. Here are some of them.
This type of feeder is excellent for keeping the seeds dry and clean. It is in the shape of a long tube that has holes in the bottom for the birds to pick the seeds. Most tube feeders also have a thin post attached to it so that the bird can comfortably sit on it and eat the food. The tube typically has a transparent body, which makes it easy to know when to refill the feeder. The Gray Bunny GB-6847 Classic Tube Feeder is available on Amazon.
This type of feeder is built for feeding suet cake. The feeder holds the cake with wires circling it. This feeder can easily be hung on the roof, branches, or perches. The drainage of this feeder is excellent and prevents the seeds from getting wet or sprout. Stokes Select Suet Bird Feeder is available on Amazon.
This type of feeder does not come with any cover. It is open and flat for welcoming birds to feed on the seeds. These feeders can be kept on the backyard attached to a pole. Kingsyard 2 in 1 Hanging Platform Bird Feeder is available on Amazon.
This type of feeder is used for territorial birds. It can be pretty useful for protecting the seeds from other animals in the vicinity. This feeder looks like a cage as the name goes by, and it is attached inside the cage. Droll Yankees Domed Cage Bird Feeder is available on Amazon.
This type of feeder is built in the shape of a small birdhouse. These are specially designed for larger birds and can accommodate more seeds at once. Big birds like sparrows and parrots can feed on these. The best kind of seeds for a hopper feeder would be safflower, which chickadees and cardinals enjoy snacking. Perky-Pet 338 Squirrel-Be-Gone II, Bird Feeder is available on Amazon.
This feeder is shaped in the style of a church structure or say cathedral with large open spaces for the birds to freely enter and exit. They are aesthetic for gardens and backyards. Fruits or vegetables can be put on these feeders. Dress The Yard Amish-Crafted Bird Feeder is available on Amazon.
This feeder is used for storing and feeding thistle-like seeds. They have tiny holes for dispensing the seeds for the birds. Most birds such as mourning dove, sparrows and finches love thistle. Woodlink NATUBE9 Feeder is available on Amazon.
The ground feeders are just like tray feeders, except they are not elevated. These feeders are meant for those birds who like to feed on the ground. It is a flat structured feeder with short stands attached to it to prevent the seeds from spilling out of the feeder. Ground Platform Feeder is available on Amazon.
Getting Acquainted with Winter Bird Food
A very important aspect of birding is to feed the birds with wholesome food and in the right amount to keep them healthy. This routine becomes tougher during seasons that are not favorable, especially during the snowy and cold winter season. Since there is no vegetation, fruits, and fresh food during the winter months, it is mandatory that as bird owners or feeders, we do some reading on which bird food will relieve the hunger of these tiny flying creatures. Here are some winter bird food excellent for such months and to keep the bird warm in winter.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
It is the best option for the finest winter bird food since it contains a higher amount of fat as compared to other types of sunflower seeds. Birds of a large variety love black oil sunflower seeds. Hulled sunflower seeds are also quite attractive to many birds, although they are more on the costlier side.
Being a perfect source of energy and calories, suet serves as one of the best foods for birds in winter. Suets can be easily purchased from the regular bird food store and placed in a suet feeder to feed the backyard birds.
Nuts contain an enormous amount of protein and vitamins. Peanuts, groundnuts, cashew nuts are attractive to birds such as titmice, chickadees, jays. Most nuts can be fed shelled, which are more attractive to the birds.
Also known as nyjer or niger, thistle seeds are bird’s favorite food for winters for birds like goldfinches, redpolls, pine siskin. These seeds are rich in oil and provide an ample amount of fat and energy.
A suitable feeder with mixed seeds can be the bird’s favorite meal during winters. The mix can contain black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, sunflower hearts, millets, and peanuts.
Understanding How Do Birds Stay Warm in the Winter
The first and most obvious trick that birds use to keep themselves warm is by using their feathers. This is the first layer that protects a bird from the cold and harsh wind blowing on the little creature. They also tend to fluff up their feathers as much as possible so that the air trapped inside the feather becomes warm due to the heat produced by its body. It helps to keep the bird warm in winter.
Birds also use the technique of shivering to keep themselves warm. Isn’t that amazing how just like human beings, birds too understand the value of being physically active to generate heat from their bodies? Like as mentioned above, birds have a high metabolism, which helps them eat larger proportions of food as compared to during summers. This results in burning more calories and energy.
Birds also have a natural way of producing oil from a gland that shields their feathers from getting wet during winters. This oil acts as a waterproof for its feathers. This process of producing oil is called preening. They also warm their feet inside their feathers by switching one foot with another. Moreover, their legs are protected by scales that act as thermostats and help to insulate.
Flocking and huddling around during winter nights is a common phenomenon you may notice in birds. The reason is that birds roost in large groups in tiny spaces to transfer heat from each other’s body when the temperatures drop low at night.
During sunny winter mornings, birds face away from the sun and expose their larger body surface area to the sun so that the heat could be trapped in. It helps to keep the bird warm in winter.
Importance of Keeping Aviary Birds Warm in Winter
There are bird owners out there that have an entire columbary of birds. They own giant birdhouses and enjoy keeping hundreds of birds as pets to give them a better life. These owners expose these birds to different activities pertaining to their mental health, which is extremely important for them to be well-mannered and to abstain from behavioral issues in them. They also pamper them with various products and healthier diets. However, it can be a problem for them as winter approaches and the season gets too cold to function well. Pet bird owners should resort to some preventive actions that will help keep the bird warm in winter.
You can follow these steps to ensure that your birds stay comfortable and safe in winter. If you keep the bird warm in winter, your pet bird will also be grateful for not falling sick because you did your due diligence as a responsible owner.
Steps to Keep Birds Warm in Winter
- Firstly, you have to spring-clean the entire birdhouse to provide a neat and hygienic environment. Keeping the birdhouse clean will help your pet birds to abstain from getting sick. It is also important to repair any broken nests or other damages within the birdhouse. The damage is often a cause during the mating and nesting season.
- Secondly, you have to winter-proof your birdhouse by making sure that the ventilation and holes of the drainage system are sealed shut to prevent the cold from getting in. It also keeps the warm air inside by trapping it and comforts your birds. Duct tape and old rags can be a great tool for securing open spaces. Hay is also an excellent alternative for sealing away the cold air. You can also find other essential materials that will seal the open spaces.
- Thirdly, you have to remember that there are different birdhouses, and some come with a front panel that is movable and also has a hole for entering at the top. You should try flipping it to make sure that the front panel is in an upside-down manner. It will help reduce the loss of heat because the hot air is going to rise.
- Lastly, we have to understand that the most important thing you can do is to place the birdhouse in a safer and warmer spot in your backyard. The placement and positioning of the columbary play a significant role. The birdhouse should be placed in a spot where there is maximum exposure of sunlight coming through. When the birdhouse receives the maximum of heat during the day, the warmth within the house will stay in effect throughout the night.
Keeping aviary birds warm in winter is important. You have to place the birdhouse in such a way that the entrance of the birdhouse is facing away from the strong winds. It will prevent the blast of wind from gusting inside the shelter of the birds. The birdhouse should also be made with predator-proof to avoid other animals from attacking your birds. All these measures will help keep the bird warm in winter and also get them through the wintry nights.
Want to Know How You May Help Birds Stay Warm?
Apart from the natural and behavioral habits that birds use to snug in cozily in winters, as a pet owner or an avid birder, you can also assist your pets in getting through the cold season. Here are a few things you can do for them and to keep the bird warm in winter.
The first and foremost thing you should consider is providing them with the right amount of nutritional diet that has a maximum number of fats and calories such as nuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and suet. The energy-filled food supplies help a lot in storing the body heat. Ensure that more food is provided at night so that when the temperature drops down, the bird will have enough energy to survive through the night. The feeders should remain full at all times. Kaytee Forti-Diet, Wagner’s 62032 Cardinal Blend, Volkman Avian Science, Meadow Ridge Farmsare all available on Amazon.
Providing a warm shelter, such as a covered cage which is far away from windows or doors from which cold breeze may enter. Here are some bird cages you will find on Amazon at great deals – Prevue Hendryx Wrought Iron Flight Cage and SUPER DEAL Rolling Bird Cage Large Wrought Iron Cage.
Cover birdcage as it is very important for all the bird owners. These are specially made for winters to help the birds sleep calm and warm. Cage covers are essential to quiet the birds as well. Of course, the material of the birdcage cover matters since there are covers available in different materials of thickness: thicker the sheet, warmer the cage. A thickly woven material is used for birdcage covers for winter. These covers are ventilated enough to ensure the birds get some air for breathing. These covers trap the air inside and maintain the temperature of the body heat emitted from the bird’s body in the cage. Prevue Hendryx Good Night Bird Cage Cover is available on Amazon. It is advisable to cover birdcage to help them get through winter.
There are various devices used for warming birds such as heat lamps, heaters, heat perches. Often bulbs are used in a traditional poultry farm for keeping the eggs warm. This technique is now applied for pet birds as well. You can purchase a heat lamp or heat perch from any general pet store and use it to generate heat for those small feathery friends of yours. K&H Snuggle-Up Bird Warmer, Vktech® Plush Snuggle Bird Hammock Hanging Snuggle Cave and K&H Thermo-Perch Heated Bird Perch are all available on Amazon.
Offering a bountiful of toys for your birds will help the birds indulge in many physical activities and will eventually produce lots of heat. Bird toys are readily available online and physical stores. Bvanki Parrot Toys, BWOGUE 5pcs Toys, and AK KYC 8 Pack Toys are all available on Amazon.
If you have more than one bird in your house, put them together in the same cage, especially at night. Roosting is the right way of transmitting heat from each other. Planting bushes, shrubs, evergreens, can also help certain species of birds roost on them along with their folks. It will be a more natural way to keep the bird warm in winter.
The new kind of cages which works like tent cum cover for birds to keep them comfortable and warm in cold weather. Cage tents are cages made of thick cloth material that look like tents. These cages are secured by zip locks and can be washed to keep it clean. There is also a guarantee that cage tents work better for maintaining a warm temperature for birds since they can be insulated using electricity. KinTor Bird Nest Snuggle Hut is available on Amazon.
Bird owners must be vigilant and keep an eye on their birds during winter. Still, it is also vital to ensure the safety from overheating and overfeeding. These are common problems faced by many birders. Thus a genuine effort must be made to prevent these incidents from happening. Always keep the vet’s number in handy for an emergency. In case the bird isn’t eating like usual or is having trouble breathing due to extreme cold, visit the vet immediately. Once you’re sure about these pointers on how to keep a bird warm, then you will understand them better.