My last column dealt with feeding deer and it sparked some interest, in at least one reader. Earlier this week, I stopped at a local store for my morning fix of strong black coffee when I was asked by a reader about birds. Can I feed birds?
With the freezing rain we have had lately, the birds will definitely need our help. Ice has coated all the plants and getting the seeds off plants and scratching at the ground for seed is nearly impossible. At our place the frozen snow and ice coating on the ground is around 2 inches thick and I can walk on top of it in many places. I have noticed numerous birds around our feeder outside my morning coffee window, gleaning whatever they can find.
Having natural food sources is great and preferred. Leaving headed out grasses and grains along with corn, will supply many a wild bird with food. Small property owners can plant sunflowers along fences, mixed in with grains and other wild foods for birds. Plant a wild food garden! The foods may not last all winter, so supplementing them may be needed.
Make sure you de-ice your bird feeder and have an ample supply of food available. Frozen birds are great in the freezer, but not at the frozen feeder.
Seeds of all sorts, like sunflowers, corn, wild bird seed and scratch feed will work. Wild birds will get grit from the side of the road, but having some near a feeder is always a good idea. The grit helps the bird breakup the food and digests it. I checked out Wikipedia on this so you get the facts, here you go, quoted directly from the source!
Gizzard stones 101!
Some animals that lack teeth will swallow stones or grit to aid in digestion. All birds have gizzards, but not all will swallow stones or grit. The birds that do, employ the following method of mastication: