Paw's Corner: It's still winter for backyard birds

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Birds that do not migrate during winter still need to find food, which is limited. Birds that do not migrate during winter still need to find food, which is limited. Q: Please tell your readers to remember to keep their bird feeders full in cold weather. Use high-energy food or suet, if possible. When the ground and plants are covered with heavy snow, it's very difficult for birds to find enough to fill their stomachs. I have two feeders that I'm filling twice a day, and I keep suet out at all times. During warmer weather I only need to fill them twice per week. "My" birds are very happy and full.

-- D. Oswald, Palmyra, N.Y.A:  You told them! Even though we're turning a corner into spring, in much of the country -- especially after this difficult winter -- snow will cover the ground well into March and even beyond.

 But food is likely hard to find, particularly in this transition period when wintertime sources of food have been depleted.

Keeping a backyard feeder filled with birdseed is helpful, while suet – which is basically beef fat -- gives birds extra energy and nutrients.

Place suet about 5 feet off the ground and close to a tree trunk. Special feeders are available, but many homeowners just place it on an upright skewer, or even rub it onto the tree trunk. Raw suet can be set out throughout the winter and colder spring months, but experts advise against putting it out in warm weather. Suet not only turns rancid in the heat, but also melts, creating a risk of coating a bird's feathers and making flight difficult. Warm-weather brands of suet are available, however.

On a side note, avoid putting out bacon drippings for birds. The preservatives used in commercially prepared bacon can be bad for their long-term health (and ours, too, but that's another story).Send questions or comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . c. 2014 King Features Syndicate Inc.

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