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I am leaving for a winter vacation; will the birds suffer when the feeders get empty?

Answer

THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES!

Wild birds are pretty resourceful and get most of their food from their habitat. But birds that have become dependent on supplemental feeding will suffer and may not survive if it suddenly disappears when weather conditions get severe. Ice storms are especially bad for birds because branches that are the normal source for larvae and seeds get covered. The best thing to do if you are traveling is to top off your feeders and have a neighbor stop by several times a week to replenish them. You could also put out larger feeders. When it comes to bird seed, put out a seed mix that has a good variety- black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, niger seed and white millet seed. Remember to offer fatty food as well because birds burn more calories in the winter to stay warm. Suet is especially high in calories and peanut butter works well too.

For the last few weeks I have been writing about pruning fruit trees. Pruned trees are important for the birds as well. Open up the branching in your trees, because birds go to open branching uncluttered with side branches. It's especially wonderful to prune trees near your windows to encourage perching so you can get a good view. Another important thing to remember is that where a bird perches is proportional to the size of its feet, so if you want big birds, prune big branches. If you would like us to stop by and do some pruning or any other tree work, give us a call.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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