• 48°

Missing birds? They need food and water

SALISBURY — Many home gardeners have an interest in birds and are wondering, “Where are the songbirds?” Frigid weather lately is difficult for just about everything, including our birds. Freezing temperatures greatly reduce the chance of survival for song birds and other wildlife. The key to helping our wildlife is to provide ample food and water during this type of weather.

Wildlife experts explain supplying birds with ample water and food before nightfall is critical in excessively cold weather. Water is the single most important factor in bird’s winter survival. Bird bath heaters keep water flowing during freezing temperatures, providing birds with a ready source of water. These heaters don’t actually warm the water, but keep the temperature just high enough to prevent freezing. A few days of water often is the difference between life and death for small or weak birds.

Ample food supplies are also important. Bird food, feeders and other bird-related products are stock items for most garden centers and retail outlets.

Sunflower, the most common of all bird seed, is available as striped, black oil or sunflower hearts. Larger birds such as cardinals enjoy the striped sunflower seed, while chickadees, finches and other small birds prefer black oil sunflower seed. Sunflower hearts are the favorite of most all birds, especially with birds trying to feed their young.

Cracked corn attracts larger birds such as doves and blue jays. Larger, more aggressive birds may be distracted by placing cracked corn away from smaller feeders.

Millet is usually sold as filler for seed mixtures.

Smaller birds like sparrows, juncos and chickadees like this seed. So do the larger doves.

Thistle is a favorite food of yellow finches, but the cost is fairly high because it is imported from Africa. Many bird watchers choose to combine thistle, black oil sunflower and millet as the ultimate bird food.

Suet contains a mixture of animal fat and a blend of different types of grain and nuts. The fat content is a source of energy, which is especially important for winter survival. Chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers enjoy suet cakes, which are a winter food and should be removed in the spring. Warm spring temperatures cause the fats in the suet cakes to become rancid, making birds sick.

Birds may be wary of new foods, so if you add something new to your bird-feeding station, offer it in a familiar place. If you buy a lot of seed, store it in a cool, dry place, in a rodent-proof, metal can, and be sure to check the seed often for mold. Dispose of any seed that appears to be questionable.

Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-8970 or email darrell_blackwelder@ncsu.edu.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot