Gardening: Keep the birds well fed and watered this winter

The bird feeder outside my office window has been busy the past few weeks.

We put out straight black oil sunflower seeds and these tasty treats draw in regulars such as gold and house finches, nuthatches, juncos, pine siskins and chickadees along with the occasional enterprising flicker. The chickadees, siskins and nuthatches will pick through the seeds to find just the right one and then fly off to a gnarly barked maple tree to crack open the seed.

For birds to do well at your house, they need a consistent food supply, trees and shrubs close by for shelter, a place to hide from hawks and a clean water supply. Different birds favor different kinds of seed. As mentioned above, chickadees, siskins and nuthatches love the larger sunflower seeds. Birds can tell which seeds have the most nutritional value – probably by their weight – and will pick through multiple

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