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Snow Birds Need Your Help

White-throated sparrow. <<photo by Adam S. Frankel>>

Kudos to everyone for feeding the birds during and now after Snowzilla.
    Studies have found that when deep snow covers many birds’ natural food, our handouts increase their survival.
    I’ve heard several people say that birds here knew a blizzard was coming. Starting last Wednesday, before our little snow, they seemed to come from everywhere to our feeders here in Shady Side, emptying them ­quickly. So we offered even greater amounts of food on Friday just as the blizzard started. During our daylong storm, birds took cover, so when it was quiet and daylight again, they were hungry.
    The quickest way for us to feed them Sunday morning was right outside on the deck. We swept away the snow, put down a few plastic bin lids and starting tossing out black-oil sunflower seed. I crumbled up some high-fat suet cakes, too.
    All was appreciated by many species of birds here. And yes, plenty of grackles found the bounty, but so did white-throated sparrows, dark-eyed juncos and northern cardinals and more.
    In the snow-melting stage, it is still a help to feed the birds. But we have gotten food off the deck to avert unwelcome visitors and back into proper hanging snow-free feeders in the backyard. Feeders also ensure that seed stays dry.
    Odds are we’ll see more snow this winter. Consider stocking up on bird-feed to be ready.

–Margaret A. Barker, Shady Side