For the birds – Tips for feeding your backyard birds


Spring may not be far away, but for now, it is still winter, and the backyard birds that bring us such

Female cardinal on a bird feeder.

beauty and pleasure can still use some help with food. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has some tips on how to help wild birds make it through the winter and beyond.

  • Make sure you keep your bird feeders clean to avoid parasites and viruses that can harm birds.
  • Do not feed bread to birds because it does not provide adequate nutrition and can cause an unhealthy condition known as “angel wing.”
  • The most popular seed for birds is sunflower. Cardinals especially love sunflower seeds, but many other birds are fans as well. There are two kinds of sunflower seeds — black oil and striped. The black oil seeds are easy for birds to crack open, and the kernels are high in fat, providing lots of energy. The striped seeds have a thicker shell, making it harder for some birds to open, but are still an overall good option for your feeders.
  • Squirrels also love sunflower seeds and can quickly clean out your feeders. Look for specialized feeders designed to keep the squirrels at bay while the birds enjoy a meal.
  • Suet cake is another favorite of many songbirds, including nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers and other birds that feed on insects. Look for high-quality suet filled with peanuts and dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has tips on how to make suet cakes at: