Home | Bird Behavior | Wild Bird Feeding Extras – Grit, Calcium, Salt and Water – Part 2

Wild Bird Feeding Extras – Grit, Calcium, Salt and Water – Part 2

Chickadee on feederIn Part 1 of this article we looked at a few nutrients that wild birds are hard-pressed to find in winter.  Today we’ll continue with some other ideas that might make life easier for your avian friends.


Salt is an essential element in the diet of many bird species, and is hard to find in the colder months…birds may often be seen trying to glean salt from roadways in the wake of salt-spreading trucks.

Suet provides birds with some salt, and you can also mix table salt into their grit or sprinkle it on the ground.  Don’t be surprised if species new to your feeder show up – Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Crows, Jays, Doves and Woodpeckers are real “salt fanatics” (so are porcupines – they sense salt from far off, and will even gnaw sweat-stained tool handles to get at it!).


Many folks provide wild birds with water during the summer but neglect to do so in winter.  However, the colder seasons are often quite dry, and obtaining enough water can be problematical for birds…many will even bathe despite frigid temperatures.  Bird Bath Deicers will simplify the task of providing winter visitors with water.

Food and Shelter

Of course, food and shelter are important concerns year-round.  Please be sure to check out our extensive line of bird and wildlife foods, houses and feeders.

Further Reading

There are many ways of putting your observations of the birds that frequent your feeder to use in conservation projects.  To learn how to become involved in organized bird counts and other such worthwhile efforts, please see How Birders can Contribute to Conservation.

A nicely done video showing a variety of birds at feeders and hosting a discussion of the different species’ needs is posted here.


Chickadee on feeder image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Furntree


About Frank Indiviglio

Read other posts by

I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
Scroll To Top