About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Birds in icy weather suffer

The first cold snap of winter cracked an icy whip across mid-Michigan, forcing the birds to return to our feeders in droves. You may notice a lot more titmice, woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees at the feeders. These clever birds collect and hide or cache food all over their territory, in a behavior known as scatter-hoarding.

Usually this secret stash of food hidden in the crevices of tree bark, in knotholes, under shingles, in the ground and on the underside of small branches helps them survive during bad weather and when food sources are low. Unfortunately ice storms can cover this food and make it unattainable. So while their backup foods as well as natural resources aren’t available, they are attacking the feeders.

Winter is the time when high fat foods become more critical in a bird’s diet. Every night up to three-quarters of a bird’s fat reserves are used up; reserves that must be replenished the next day. When fat reserves are depleted, protein — mostly scavenged from muscle tissue — is depleted to keep up with energy needs.

Keeping your feeders filled with high energy, high fat foods can provide your birds with the critical nutrition they need to survive. High on the list of best choices to meet this nutritional need is suet.

Seeds also provide fats, but in varying degrees. High on the list are peanuts, which provide 412 fat calories per 100 grams. Other high fat seeds or nuts include sunflower chips (429 fat calories per 100 grams), and niger seed (342 fat calories).

Our most popular Wild Birds Unlimited seed blends are No Mess Blend and Choice Blend because they are filled with many of these high fat seeds and nuts making them ideal foods, along with suet, to offer your birds this winter.

Related Articles:
- Common winter birds in Michigan and their food preference: http://bit.ly/yp9YQA
- How to choose the best suet cake http://bit.ly/xATYPQ
- Best food for birds in the winter http://goo.gl/MVFcbl
- Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/vZ6gzM
- Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds  http://goo.gl/C3mFuD

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