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Landscape Choices Benefit Birds During Winter Months

Posted: November 9, 2015

While the seasons to enjoy the home landscape for the most part are over for us, there are plenty of creatures who benefit from your yard in the worst months of the year...

Birds, especially, need your space when you aren’t using it. With a little help, you can give birds a better chance of survival through the winter.

There are benefits to winter bird care, even though most of us never think about how our landscape choices will impact the outside world around us.

  • A home landscaped to attract birds means planning and thought. A well designed yard increases property values.
  • Trees provide shade in summer, and evergreens act as wind buffers for our homes, but both offer refuge for birds.
  • Birds will eat nuisance insects
  • Birds provide entertainment and a glimpse into a world outside the window pane.
Besides the tangible benefits of winter bird care, you can learn some things too. How easy is it to identify the birds in your yard? The top five birds observed at Pennsylvania backyard bird feeders are:
  • The dark-eyed junco: a dark grey to brown sparrow with a bright white underside.
  • The mourning dove: this bird has a small head in comparison to its plump body, tan with black spots. Often seen sitting on telephone wires.
  • The tufted titmouse: a small bird with a large head, big eyes and pronounced bushy crest. They are grey with a rust color down its sides.
  • The northern cardinal: the males are bright red and can’t be missed. The females have red tinges to their crests and wings. They often sit with their tail pointed straight down.
  • The blue jay: they have varying shades of blue on top with white or grey undersides. They are large birds and have a fondness for acorns.

Each bird you may find in your yard will have definite choices for food and shelter. All birds need water, and it is the scarcest to find in winter. Consider putting out a bird bath, or a simple bowl of fresh water every day. Don’t be too quick to totally clean up the brush around your yard. Birds will use it for shelter and survival. Even letting the ornamental berries hang on through the cold months will provide for birds.

If you are interested in knowing more about identifying the birds in your yard, visit The Cornell Ornithology Lab’s website. And for help with winter bird care, the Penn State Master Gardeners in Lackawanna County have the free booklet “Winter Bird Feeding.” For a copy of it, contact us at 570-963-6842 or email: LackawannaMG@psu.edu.

Contact Information

  • Master Gardener Coordinator, Lackawanna County
Email:
Phone: 570-963-6842