Feeding Winter Birds in Oregon: Tips and Tricks




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Winter can be a challenging time for birds in Oregon. With colder temperatures and fewer natural food sources available, many birds will rely on backyard feeders to supplement their diets. By providing the right types of food and creating a welcoming environment, you can help support your local bird population and enjoy the beauty of these feathered visitors throughout the winter months.

When it comes to feeding winter birds in Oregon, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to offer a variety of foods to attract a diverse range of species. This might include seeds, nuts, fruit, and suet. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your feeders are clean and well-maintained to prevent the spread of disease. Finally, creating a bird-friendly garden with native plants and a source of water can help provide additional food and shelter for birds throughout the winter.

Whether you’re an experienced birder or new to the hobby, feeding winter birds in Oregon can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. By taking the time to create a welcoming environment and provide the right types of food, you can help support your local bird population and enjoy the beauty of these feathered visitors all season long.

Setting Up Your Feeding Station

If you want to attract winter birds to your backyard, setting up a feeding station is a great place to start. Here are some tips to help you get started.


Choosing the right location for your feeding station is crucial. You want to make sure it’s easily visible to birds, but also safe from predators like cats. Ideally, your feeding station should be located near trees or shrubs that birds can use as cover.

Types of Feeders

Different bird species prefer different types of feeders. House finches, for example, prefer tube feeders, while hummingbirds prefer nectar feeders. Scrub and Steller’s jays prefer platform feeders, while chickadees and goldfinches prefer hanging feeders. Consider adding a variety of feeder types to attract a wider range of bird species.

Types of Seed and Food

Different bird species also prefer different types of seed and food. Dark-eyed juncos and song sparrows prefer millet and cracked corn, while northern flickers prefer suet feeders. Goldfinches prefer nyjer seed, while robins prefer fruits like elderberry and orange. Black-capped chickadees prefer mixed seeds, oats, and milo. Consider offering a variety of seed and food types to attract a wider range of bird species.

Water Sources

Birds need water to drink and bathe, even in the winter. Consider adding a birdbath or other water source to your feeding station. Make sure to keep it clean and dry to prevent the growth of bacteria and the spread of diseases.

By following these tips and offering a variety of feeder types, seed and food types, and water sources, you can attract a wide range of winter bird species to your backyard. Just remember to keep your feeding station clean and free of pests, and to position it away from windows to prevent bird strikes. For more information on bird species and feeding, check out eBird and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch.

Other local states for feeding birds:

Feeding Winter Birds in Oregon

Winter is a challenging time for wild birds in Oregon, as their natural food sources become scarce. Feeding birds during winter can help them survive and thrive until spring arrives. Here are some tips on feeding winter birds in Oregon.

Year-Round Residents

Some birds, like chickadees, juncos, and nuthatches, are year-round residents in Oregon. They will visit your feeders throughout the year, but they may need extra food during winter. Providing them with high-energy foods like suet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds can help them stay warm and healthy.

Winter Visitors

Other birds, like grosbeaks, siskins, and redpolls, are winter visitors to Oregon. They may not be seen in your yard during the rest of the year, but they will come to your feeders in large numbers during winter. These birds prefer small seeds like niger, millet, and nyjer, as well as fruits like apples and berries.

Favorite Foods to Offer

Different birds have different food preferences, so it’s important to offer a variety of foods to attract a diverse range of species. Some popular foods for winter birds in Oregon include:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Suet cakes
  • Peanut butter
  • Niger seeds
  • Mealworms
  • Apples

Foods to Avoid

While feeding birds during winter is helpful, it’s important to avoid offering certain foods that can be harmful to them. Some foods to avoid include:

  • Bread, crackers, and other processed foods
  • Salty foods like chips and pretzels
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Raw meat, fish, and eggs

By following these tips, you can provide a safe and nutritious feeding station for winter birds in Oregon. Remember to keep your feeders clean and dry, and to offer fresh food regularly. Enjoy watching the beautiful birds that visit your yard during winter!

Keeping Your Feeding Station Healthy and Safe

Feeding winter birds in Oregon can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to make sure your feeding station is healthy and safe for the birds that visit. Here are some tips to help you keep your feeding station in top condition.

Sanitizing Your Feeders

Regular cleaning and sanitizing of your feeders is essential to prevent the spread of diseases among birds. Use a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to clean your feeders, and rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Alternatively, you can use a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water to clean your feeders. Be sure to dry your feeders completely before refilling them with seed.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Pests such as squirrels and raccoons can be a problem at feeding stations, as can diseases such as salmonella and avian pox. To deter pests, use feeders that are designed to be squirrel-proof, and keep your feeding station clean and tidy. To prevent the spread of disease, remove any dead birds from your feeding station immediately, and disinfect your feeders regularly.

If you notice any sick birds at your feeding station, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center for advice. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Project FeederWatch are also good resources for information on bird diseases and health.

Keeping Pets Safe

If you have pets, it’s important to keep them away from your feeding station to prevent them from harming the birds. Cats in particular are a threat to birds, and can kill or injure them even if they are well-fed. To keep your pets safe, place your feeding station in an area that is inaccessible to your pets, or use a bird feeder that is designed to be mounted on a pole or hung from a tree.

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