Interested in adding some colorful elements to your frozen backyard this winter? Why not consider attracting birds? Plants, trees and insects are either frozen or in hiding during the winter months, so this is the best time of year to feed our feathered friends.

Many species of colorful birds hang around during the winter months, like the demanding blue jays and vibrant cardinals. Providing them with high-energy foods found in seed or suet is a great way to encourage them to hang around your back yard and add a little color to the neighborhood.


Be sure to give your feathered friends the bare essentials: food, water and shelter. If you had a live Christmas tree in your home over the holidays, take it outside when you're finished and stake it upright for a great shelter from the wind and weather. When summer arrives and the trees start to leaf out, you can then compost your tree or shred it into wood chips for mulch. Birds will flock to the tree for a rest between meals, to communicate with other birds or to catch a break from the cold.

Water is also an essential item birds need in winter, and it's harder to come by because of the freezing temperatures. The staff at Homestead Gardens recommends you purchase a birdbath deicer and keep a birdbath full of water in your backyard all winter long. You may not see birds swimming in the bathwater in the winter months like they do during the summer, but they'll be using the bath to catch a quick drink in between visiting your feeder.

Bird Feeders

When it comes to bird feeders, you can choose from any style imaginable. If you want to feed only birds and not the squirrels, the staff at Homestead Gardens recommends the Droll Yankees Yankee Flipper or Yankee Tipper feeders to keep the squirrels away. Or consider installing a metal cylinder upside down on the pole to prevent squirrels from climbing up to the feeder. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet cakes, peanut butter and thistle seed are all great bird food options. If you want to attract woodpeckers, spreading chunky peanut butter on a smooth board and hanging it from a tree works well.

With all these great bird essentials, your backyard will be a flurry of activity, bird calls and color all winter long.

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