Winter is upon us in full force. Only 78 days until spring arrives! A combination of sleet and snow can make many food sources impossible to reach for many of the wild birds in mid Missouri. In normal winter conditions, most birds have ways of coping with the cold. To help survive cold nights, Chickadees can lower their normal 108-degree body temperature by 12-15 degrees to conserve energy. By dawn, they, like many birds, will quickly dart to a food source to fill their empty stomachs. That is why early morning and late evenings are some of the ‘largest crowds’ at bird feeders. Because most normal food sources are now either ice encrusted or covered by snow, wild birds need and greatly benefit by mid Missouri residents feeding them during times like this.
A good thing to feed the wild birds is hi-energy foods like black oil sunflower seeds, tree nut pieces and suet that give birds more energy per ounce consumed. While any food is better than nothing, there is problems with cheap mixes full of oats and wheat or things like bread and cereal that people sometimes throw on the snow.