Well, not really. It’s very cold here in Ohio now with record-breaking temperatures. The highs have been in the single digits with low and wind chill below zero. I am very thankful to have a warm place to rest my head at night!
If your wildlife, like this beautiful female northern cardinal, you have to brave the cold. And that can be very serious business in these temperatures. Birds and other wildlife have three basic needs for survival and you can provide them in your landscape:
1. Water – it can be tricky in the winter but they do sell products to keep your baths free of ice.
2. Shelter - landscape trees, shrubs and other vegetation are great for birds. I let many of my perennials stand over the winter to provide extra support for the wildlife during this time.
3. Food - there are many ways to provide food, including native landscaping that is good for birds. Winterberry is a great shrub in my region that sets fruit in the winter and provide food resources for wildlife.
Now is a great time to put feed out for the birds if you are able. It can be as simple as a feeder with seed purchased from the store, or a homemade suet cake recipe like this one:
Mesh Bag (like the one oranges and onion or potatoes come in)
Combine one part crisco one part peanut butter, and one part flour together. Mix with one part birdseed with three parts cornmeal. Mix well (a great activity for children). Roll the mixture in a ball and put it into the bag to hang it. Or stuff the contents into holes drilled into a hanging log.
If you are really eager, you can create a winter feeding bonanza like Jerry has done here. You can see he even re-purposed his Christmas tree to hang suet cakes on or for the birds to use a refuge while visiting the feeders. Way to go Jerry!
You can find other great homemade and re-purposed bird feeder ideas here (NAS).