Sign Up for Your FREE
Savings E-Newsletter Now!
Search the AHA Website:   
Exclusive Benefits
  24/7 Emergency Service
  Froople! Free Shipping
  Travel Values
  Grocery Coupons
  Home Loan Center
  Vision Discounts
  Improve Your Credit
  Moving Services
  Free Legal Network
  Home Contractors
  Real Estate Resources
  More Benefits ...
AHA Home Courses
  1st Time Home Buying
  Home Living
  More Courses . . .
  AHA Top Tips
  Article Library
  AHA on Your Side
  Government Links
  AHA Newswire
  More Resources . . .
About AHA
  What Our Members Say
  Our Guarantee
  Our Mission
  Privacy Statement
  Press Room
  Contact Us



How to Attract Entertaining Guests in Winter

Your yard can host hundreds of guests with just a little work, no matter what size it is. These guests are the best kind of guests to have. They don't stay long, they don't eat much and they'll be incredibly grateful-they're birds. Attracting birds to your yard in winter months is not difficult, as long as you provide them with the essentials they will need to survive the winter-food and water.

Water is important during the winter months since many sources of water may be frozen. Provide your feathered visitors with a birdbath, or other shallow pan of water. The water should only be about two inches deep and in a sheltered location. Changing the water in the dish frequently will help to keep it from freezing, or you can invest in an immersion-type water heater made just for this purpose.

To find the best locations for your bird feeders, try placing food in several different spots around the yard. Also, purchase several different kinds of feeders to encourage a variety of birds to stop by for a bite.

The feeders should be placed so you can see them from a window in your home since this will help you to remember to keep them clean and filled. Birds will more likely come to a feeder that is near shrubs or trees because they will have a ready place to hide from predators. If you live in a windy area, try to arrange the feeders to be in a spot sheltered from the wind.

Choosing the type of food for your feeders depends on the area you live in and the types of birds that live around you. White proso millet is a good small seed, favored by sparrows and juncos. Thistle seed (sometimes call "niger") is popular with goldfinches, house finches, and pine siskins. Try black sunflower seeds for cardinals, chickadees, evening grosbeaks, and finches.

Once you've installed your feeders you may find that your birds have some competition for the food you've set out just for them. Squirrels and raccoons may try to dominate your feeders. In order to prevent these unwanted diners, elevate the feeder at least five feet off of the ground and about ten feet away from the nearest tree overhang or building. Install a baffle (a curved sheet of metal available at home supply stores) to the top of the feeder to prevent squirrels from eating the food. Raccoons can be warded off with a cone shield, with an 18-inch radius on the post beneath the feeder. This shield should be at least four feet off of the ground.

Once you've established your yard as a spot for nourishment, be sure to keep you birdbaths and feeders well stocked. Birds will come to count on your yard as a place to come for nourishment all winter and they will have to spend valuable time and energy searching for food if you forget to restock.

Making your yard bird-friendly will guarantee that all winter you'll have a great vantage point to watch a variety wildlife from the warmth of your own home.

Sources used in this article include the National Gardening Association, and Ken Simpson and Zo� Wilson.

©2003 American Homeowners Association (AHA)®
Stamford, Connecticut 06905.   All Rights Reserved.
Toll-Free 1-800-470-2242

  America's #1 Homeowner Organization Since 1994