Feeding winter birds in Missouri is a great way to help our feathered friends survive the harsh winter months. Winter can be a challenging time for birds, as their food sources become scarce and the weather becomes harsher. By providing food and water, you can help ensure that birds have the resources they need to make it through the winter.
Missouri is home to a variety of winter birds that can be attracted to feeding stations. Some of the most common winter birds in Missouri include Northern Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Blue Jays. These birds rely on seeds, nuts, and other high-energy foods to survive the winter. By providing these foods at feeding stations, you can help attract these birds to your yard and provide them with the nourishment they need to thrive.
When feeding winter birds in Missouri, it’s important to choose the right foods and feeders. Suet, unsalted peanuts, and black oil sunflower seeds are all great options for winter bird feeding. You should also make sure to provide fresh water, as birds need water for drinking and bathing even in the winter. By following these tips, you can help support Missouri’s winter bird population and enjoy the beauty of these feathered friends all winter long.
Why Feed Winter Birds?
Feeding birds in winter is a great way to help them survive the harsh conditions of the season. During the winter months, food sources for birds can be scarce, and they may struggle to find enough food to survive. By providing them with a reliable source of food, you can help them maintain their energy levels and stay healthy.
Feeding birds in winter can also be a great way to attract a variety of bird species to your backyard. Many birds migrate south for the winter, but there are still plenty of species that stay in Missouri year-round. By providing them with a food source, you can attract a diverse range of birds to your yard and enjoy watching them throughout the season.
In addition to the enjoyment that comes from watching birds, feeding them in winter can also help you develop your bird identification skills. As different species of birds visit your feeders, you can learn to identify them by their unique colors, markings, and behaviors.
When choosing what to feed winter birds, it’s important to choose foods that are high in fat and protein. These nutrients are essential for birds to maintain their body heat and energy levels during the cold winter months. Some good options include:
- Suet: Suet is a high-fat food that is especially popular with woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees.
- Black oil sunflower seeds: These seeds are a favorite of many bird species, including finches, cardinals, and chickadees.
- Peanuts: Unsalted peanuts are a great source of protein and fat for birds. They can be offered in a variety of feeders, including tube feeders and mesh feeders.
Overall, feeding winter birds in Missouri can be a rewarding and beneficial activity for both you and the birds. By providing them with a reliable source of food, you can help them survive the harsh winter conditions and enjoy the beauty of Missouri’s backyard birds.
Identifying Winter Birds in Missouri
Missouri is home to a wide variety of winter birds, each with their unique characteristics and behaviors. Identifying these birds can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging for beginners. Here are some tips to help you identify common winter birds in Missouri.
Other local states:
- Winter Bird Feeding in North Dakota
- Winter Bird Feeding in South Dakota
- Winter Bird Feeding in Kansas
- Winter Bird Feeding in Nebraska
- Winter Bird Feeding in Iowa
- Winter Bird Feeding in Minnesota
Common Winter Birds in Missouri
The Dark-eyed Junco is a small, slate-gray bird with a white belly and flashing white outer tail feathers. Females are browner. They eat small seeds such as white proso millet on the ground or from low platform feeders. Listen for their high-pitched trill and tinkling songs.
The House Finch is a small bird with a reddish-brown head and breast, brown streaks on the back, and white markings on the wings. They have a distinctive warbling song and a metallic “pink” call note. Look for them at tube feeders or hopper feeders with sunflower seeds.
The Blue Jay is a large, colorful bird with a blue crest on its head, blue and black markings on its wings and tail, and a white belly. They have a loud, harsh call and mimic other bird sounds. Look for them at platform feeders with peanuts, sunflower seeds, and suet.
The American Goldfinch is a small, bright yellow bird with black wings and tail and a white rump. They have a distinctive, undulating flight pattern and a sweet, twittering song. Look for them at tube feeders with nyjer seed or thistle.
The Mourning Dove is a plump, gray-brown bird with a long, pointed tail and pinkish feet. They have a soft, mournful cooing call. Look for them on the ground or at platform feeders with cracked corn, millet, and sunflower seeds.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized bird with a red cap and nape, black and white striped back, and a red belly. They have a distinctive, rolling call and drumming sound. Look for them at suet feeders or on tree trunks and branches.
The White-throated Sparrow is a medium-sized bird with a black and white striped head, yellow lores, and a white throat. They have a clear, whistled song that sounds like “Oh, sweet Canada Canada Canada.” Look for them on the ground or at platform feeders with millet, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn.
The Carolina Wren is a small, brown bird with a white eyebrow and a long, curved bill. They have a loud, melodious song and a harsh “churrr” call. Look for them at suet feeders or in brushy areas.
The House Sparrow is a small, brown bird with a gray head and black bib. They have a cheerful chirping song and a harsh “chirp” call. Look for them at tube feeders with sunflower seeds or at ground feeders with millet and cracked corn.
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a brown back, black bars on the wings, and a red patch on the nape. They have a distinctive, loud “wicka-wicka-wicka” call and drumming sound. Look for them at suet feeders or on the ground.
The Tufted Titmouse is a small, gray bird with a black patch above the bill, a tufted crest, and a white belly. They have a clear, whistled song and a scolding “peter-peter” call. Look for them at suet feeders or in wooded areas.
The Northern Cardinal is a medium-sized bird with a red crest on its head, a red body, and a black mask around the bill. They have a clear, whistled song and a variety of calls. Look for them at tube feeders with sunflower seeds or on the ground.
The Downy Woodpecker is a small woodpecker with a black and white striped back, a white belly, and a red patch on the nape. They have a high-pitched “pik” call and a drumming sound. Look for them at suet feeders or on tree trunks and branches.
The American Robin is a medium-sized bird with a rusty-red breast, gray back, and white belly. They have a clear, melodious song and a variety of calls. Look for them on the ground or at platform feeders
What to Feed Winter Birds in Missouri
Feeding birds during winter is a great way to attract different species to your backyard, and it can be an enjoyable activity for the entire family. However, it’s important to know what types of food to offer and what to avoid. In this section, we’ll discuss the best foods for winter birds in Missouri and the foods you should avoid.
Best Foods for Winter Birds in Missouri
The best foods for winter birds in Missouri are those that are high in fat and protein. These foods provide birds with the energy they need to survive the cold winter months. Here are some of the best foods to offer:
- Suet: Suet is a high-energy food that is perfect for winter birds. It’s made from animal fat and can be offered in a suet feeder or smeared onto a tree trunk.
- Peanuts: Peanuts are a great source of protein and fat for birds. They can be offered in a peanut feeder or scattered on the ground.
- Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds are a favorite of many bird species, including cardinals and chickadees. They can be offered in a hopper or tube feeder.
- Safflower seeds: Safflower seeds are a good alternative to sunflower seeds because they are less attractive to squirrels. They can be offered in a hopper or tube feeder.
- Corn meal: Corn meal is a good source of energy for birds and can be offered in a platform feeder.
Foods to Avoid
While it’s important to offer birds high-energy foods during winter, there are some foods you should avoid. These include:
- Bread: Bread has little nutritional value for birds and can actually be harmful to them. It can cause a condition called “angel wing” in which the wings become deformed.
- Milk: Milk is not good for birds because they cannot digest lactose.
- Table scraps: Table scraps are not a good food source for birds because they are often high in salt and sugar.
In conclusion, offering high-energy foods like suet, peanuts, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and corn meal is the best way to attract winter birds to your backyard in Missouri. Avoid offering foods like bread, milk, and table scraps, which can be harmful to birds. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that the birds in your backyard stay healthy and well-fed throughout the winter months.
Setting Up Your Backyard for Winter Bird Feeding
If you’re interested in feeding winter birds in Missouri, you’ll need to prepare your backyard for their arrival. Here are some tips on how to set up your backyard for winter bird feeding.
Choosing the Right Bird Feeder
Choosing the right bird feeder is essential to attract a variety of bird species to your backyard. Tube feeders are a popular choice as they can hold a large amount of seed and keep it dry. Hopper feeders are also a great option as they can hold a variety of seed types and are easy to refill. Suet feeders are a great choice for attracting woodpeckers, nuthatches, and other birds that prefer to cling to a feeder.
Placing Your Bird Feeder
The location of your bird feeder is crucial for attracting birds. Place your feeder in an open area, away from any potential predators such as cats, and close to trees or shrubs where birds can perch. Make sure the feeder is at least five feet off the ground and positioned away from any windows to prevent bird collisions.
Watering in Winter
Water is crucial for birds in the winter, and providing a source of water can attract more birds to your backyard. A heated bird bath is a great option as it can keep water from freezing and provide a place for birds to drink and bathe. If you don’t have a heated bird bath, you can use a shallow dish or saucer and replace the water frequently to prevent it from freezing.
In addition to your backyard feeder, you can also create a bird-friendly environment by planting trees, grasses, and wildflowers that provide food and shelter for birds throughout the year. By following these tips, you can create a welcoming environment for winter birds in your backyard.
Tips for Attracting Winter Birds in Missouri
During the winter months, many bird species migrate to Missouri in search of food and shelter. Here are some tips to attract winter birds to your yard:
Provide a Variety of Feeders
Different bird species have different feeding preferences. By providing a variety of feeders, you can attract a wider range of winter birds. Some popular feeder types include:
- Tube feeders for small birds like finches and chickadees
- Hopper feeders for larger birds like cardinals and jays
- Suet feeders for woodpeckers and nuthatches
Offer High-Calorie Foods
Winter birds need high-calorie foods to maintain their energy levels in the cold weather. Some popular winter bird foods include:
- Black oil sunflower seeds
- Suet cakes
Keep Feeders Clean and Fresh
Dirty feeders can spread disease and discourage birds from visiting your yard. Clean your feeders regularly and replace the food every few days to keep it fresh.
Birds need water for drinking and bathing, even in the winter. Consider adding a heated bird bath to your yard to provide fresh water for winter birds.
Plant Native Trees and Shrubs
Native trees and shrubs provide natural food sources for winter birds. Consider planting species like:
- American holly
- Eastern red cedar
- Winterberry holly
Get Advice from MDC
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers resources and advice for attracting winter birds to your yard. Check out their website for tips and information on feeding and attracting winter birds in Missouri.