As we retreat indoors for the next few months and you put lawn care on hold, you can still enjoy the outdoors through bird watching. Many birds fly south for the winter, down to Mexico and Central America, while others in Charlotte year-round. Those who stay here will be looking for a comfortable spot to spend the winter. During these next three months, these birds will need help in finding scarce food and other resources. You can help them, and in doing so, you may even get to see distinct types of birds you’ve never seen before. Here are a few tips on attracting birds to your Charlotte, North Carolina backyard this season.
Provide the Right Food
Even here in Charlotte, where the winters are milder, and we get little snow, food becomes more scarce. Make life easier for them by hanging out a few bird feeders. But don’t just put out generic birdseed. If you want to see a variety of different birds in your backyard, learn which birds eat what and buy foods that you can either mix together or put out several feeders with different types of seeds.
The staple of any food for birds, sunflower seeds are eaten by over 40 species, including chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, and sparrows. If you put nothing else in your birdfeeder this winter, include sunflower seeds.
This high-fat food is made of beef fat and seeds and is great for birds in the winter because it contains plenty of calories for energy. It attracts woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, and titmice. You can even make your own suet with a little animal fat.
Eagerly consumed by all the finches, you need a special feeder for thistle seed. That is because the thistle seeds are so small they fall out of most normal-sized bird feeders. Tube feeders made with unique thistle-sized holes or thistle socks work best.
Another good food source for restoring energy over the winter is peanuts. They are packed with protein and enjoyed by woodpeckers, blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals, titmice, and finches. Be sure they are de-shelled, dry-roasted, and unsalted.
Cracked corn is just that, dried corn. It is enjoyed by sparrows, blackbirds, jays, and doves. It is also a favorite of small game, including turkeys and squirrels, so if you are trying to prevent the squirrels from devouring all your birdseed, this may not be the best option.
Fruit can make a special treat for a bird in need of warmth and comfort in the winter. Grapes, sliced citrus, apples, and even bananas draw different kinds of birds.
During the colder months of the winter, parts of the lakes and ponds surrounding the Charlotte area freeze, causing drinking water to become more scarce and hard to find. A bird can travel for miles and spend all day looking for freshwater. Give them a break and have a birdbath ready for them. Be sure to change the water weekly or add in an agitator to keep the water from freezing.
Birds also need shelter from the cold and the elements. They will naturally build nests in trees, in bushes, on balconies, under rafters, patios, front porches, in rain spouts and basically, anywhere they see a safe, secure spot. If you’re looking to help them further, there are different types of roosting boxes, you can buy or build yourself. The more variety of shelters you have on your Charlotte property, the greater the variety of birds that will show up to take roost.
Plant Trees That Provide Food and Shelter for Birds
Certain trees hang onto their fruit all year which attracts birds and other wildlife. Trees great for attracting winter wildlife include crab apples, Washington hawthorn, and American holly. Not only do these trees help birds get something to eat, but they also add a bit of color to your yard.
Evergreens, such as the blue spruce, pine, cedar, and hemlock, keep their foliage year-round and create an easy and natural way to provide birds with shelter. Brush piles, including large and small branches with plenty of air space for roosting and insulation, can provide extra protection.
Birds That Stay in Charlotte, North Carolina
As we mentioned above, not all birds migrate for the winter. So which birds stick around? Here is a list of just a few of them.
- Blue-headed Vireos
- Blue Jays
- Carolina Chickadees
- Mourning Doves
- Tufted Titmice
For All Your Lawn Care Needs, You Want the Professionals at Pine Valley Turf
Before you know it, your grass will be green again, and it will be time to start your lawn care routine. Why not take a break this year and allow the professionals at Pine Valley Turf to take care of your lawn care needs. We offer three different custom lawn fertilization programs that run year-round for the health and improvement of your Charlotte area turf. We also offer tree and shrub care for the health and protection of your beloved lawn ornaments, mosquito control, insect control, aeration and overseeding, and lots more.