How to Help Birds in the Winter: Advice from Wing & A Prayer

Contrary to what some people think, birds need our help in the winter when it is cold and the snow stays on the ground for weeks. You may ask how do they eat or how can we help; below is a guide to assist you in answering these questions.  Information is provided by Tom Schultz, owner of Wing & A Prayer, inside the Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market.  Check out his shop (#81) for a large selection of bird food, houses, and other accessories for your winged friends.

1. Providing Food

  • Check your bird food mix to see if it contains grit, which is necessary for digestion.  If the birds do not get any grit they can starve, or even freeze to death.  Food provides necessary warmth for them during the winter.


2. Water

  • Make sure there is an ample water supply at all times.


3.  Egg Shells

  • Egg shells are very important before nesting time.  Save your egg shells and crush them to add to your bird food. (Especially in the months of January-April.) Doing this will provide calcium to help make harder shells on their own eggs.


4. Birdhouses and Roosting Pockets

  • Make sure to provide plenty of birdhouses and roosting pockets for the birds.  These provide extra protection from the winter elements.  When purchasing a bird house try to stay away from houses that are all metal.  If the house has a metal roof only, make sure it has space for ventilation at the top and the bottom.  Entrance holes need to be appropriate sizes for the birds you wish to attract.  ALL holes should be at least 2 1/2 inches from the bottom of the house.  Stay away from houses that are glued together.


5. Bird Feeders

  • We do not recommend wooden feeders.  A few years ago there was an epidemic that was linked to wooden feeders, and thousands of birds died due to the virus.  All feeders must be kept clean as food can get wet and stuck in the feeders which causes harmful mold to form.