Bird is the word! With cool temperatures abound, now is the perfect time to welcome winged wildlife to the garden by providing them with water, food and shelter. Feathered friends will appreciate a safe refuge from the cold, while nature lovers will delight in a colorful flurry of activity right outside their doorstep. To help customers ready the yard for beautiful birds, the experts at Pike Nurseries offer the top three essentials needed to transform any backyard – small or large – into a bird-friendly oasis that will flourish throughout the winter.
Essential #1: Food
Not all birds are alike, which means certain species prefer different types of food. Colorful Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Bluebirds, Brown Thrashers, Blue Jays and Mockingbirds enjoy suet logs and cakes. This high-fat, high-calorie option provides the perfect punch of energy to help birds thrive during the cold. Regular bird seed is also a great option, depending on the size of the bird’s beak. To attract the broadest spectrum of species –from Sparrows and Cardinals to Wrens and Easter Towhees– the experts at Pike Nurseries recommend using Pike Special Mix Bird Seed, which is comprised of sunflower, millet and peanuts. Thistle seed is also a great food source and is popular among Chickadees, Finches and Tufted Titmouse. Gardeners looking for a DIY project can create an easy, homemade bird feeder by covering a pine cone in peanut butter and rolling it in bird seed. Once a string is attached, the tasty treat can be hung on branches for birds to indulge. Additionally, flowering shrubs, perennials and vines provide great natural alternatives to seed and feeders.
Essential #2: Water
Although birds won’t bathe in cooler temperatures, they still need water to survive. Birdbaths, mini-birdbaths and fountains are great water sources during the winter when streams and creeks may be dry or frozen. The experts at Pike Nurseries recommend residents keep a low level of fresh water in a birdbath and change it regularly to keep it clean. Installing a birdbath heater will help keep the water from freezing in between changes and also ensure birds continue to come back for more.
Essential #3: Shelter
While many people believe bird houses should be taken down in the winter, now is the perfect time to utilize them. Birds seek shelter to keep warm during frigid temperatures and to hide from nighttime predators like owls and cats. Pike Nurseries offers a wide variety of bird houses in different shapes and sizes, making them both functional and decorative for bare winter landscapes. Roosting pockets or plants in the landscape, like ornamental grass, shrubs, trees and conifers, also provide a natural safe haven for many winged wildlife.
To help customers put their birding knowledge into practice, Pike Nurseries will host a FREE Attract Birds to the Backyard class at select locations January 17-19 and January 21. Guests will learn more about the essentials needed to attract birds, what type of bird food is best and how to create an inviting habitat for them during the crucial winter months. All class attendees will receive a 5-pound container of Pike Nurseries Special Mix Bird Seed and be entered to win a $50 bird house.
For more information on winter birding, stop by one of the 17 store locations across Georgia and North Carolina. For more information on Pike Nurseries’ FREE gardening classes, visit pikenursery.com/pages/pike-classes-events.