Bird Feeding Tips to Help Birds Survive Winter


Brilliant Red Cardinal In A Tree

Photos by Mary Murray at Windy Meadows Farm

A strong wind is circling around the barns and farmhouse, blowing snow and creating drifts that are knee-deep. Even though the sun is brightly shining, it does very little to chase away the bitter cold. Our local forecast for one day next week: a high temperature of 4 degrees, and the low -9 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures like those mean essential preparations to keep both us and our animals warm. As the winter winds begin racing across the open farmland, we’ll let kitchen faucets drip to keep them from freezing and extra firewood will be stacked by the back door. Outside, the chickens will be given meals of warm mash, goats will enjoy extra hay, and barn cats can snuggle into fleece blankets tucked into their houses.

Outdoor winter preparations certainly bring color to our cheeks: hauling firewood, moving bales of hay, adding pine shavings to the chicken coop, and shoveling paths through the snow for both us and the animals. Coming inside, a warm cup of hot chocolate never seems to taste better. We’re ready and can settle in, no matter what Old Man Winter brings; the warmth radiating from the kitchen fireplace is a simple country pleasure, and just what we need in February.

This morning it was a balmy 7 degrees, and the chill found me layering on my warmest clothes to begin chores. Once done, I stopped — there was a sense of utter quiet. Yet, in that quiet, I could see a flash of red and blue: cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers were eagerly eating at the bird feeders.


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