Wintering Friends in Our Backyard
While the spring flowers have yet to be seen, and ice pockets can still be found in the crevices of our mountains, there is still a lot happening in our own North Georgia backyard. One surprise is our wintering hummingbirds.
Is Your Backyard Host to Migrating Birds?
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, we should keep at least one hummingbird feeder filled during the winter months. A common myth is that we should take our feeders down in the fall to encourage the hummers to migrate. However hummingbirds migrate according to day length, not food supply.
The Rufous and the Ruby-Throated are among the multiple species of hummingbirds known to winter in Georgia. So let’s help our local birds by not only keeping our seed feeders filled but our hummingbird feeders as well. At our backyard feeders, we may soon expect visits from Eastern Bluebirds, warblers and Indigo Buntings.
Caring for Resident Birds
Our permanent winged residents here in Georgia, such as the Tufted Titmouse, the Carolina Chicadee and various woodpeckers, are counting on us to provide food winter-time when they burn more calories.
- Bird Feeder Projects
An excellent winter craft project is to make a woodpecker feeder. One way to do this is to drill 1-2” holes into a log and fill it with a mix of seeds, suet and/or peanut butter. Another simple and fun project for children this time of year is to tie yarn to a pinecone, spread it with peanut butter and roll it in seeds. Strings of popcorn and slices of oranges will complete a winter treat tree for our feathered friends.
- Water and Shelter Maintenance
Remember this time of year that many water resources for birds are frozen. We can help them by pouring warm water into birdbaths in the mornings. It’s also time for us to clean out those old bird houses and duck boxes in preparation for the birds to start nesting in the spring. They will be moving in and starting families in just a matter of weeks!
Spring will be here before we know it, and even now the trees are beginning to bud, but during the next few weeks of winter, let us take a moment to remember that our wild friends need our help now before the feast and flurry of the warmer days.