Home | Bird Behavior | Feeding Wild Birds during Snowstorms – Tips and Stories – Part 1

Feeding Wild Birds during Snowstorms – Tips and Stories – Part 1

I’ve known Red-winged Blackbirds to return to NYC as early as Groundhog Day, February 2nd.  I’ve not yet had a chance to check yet, but if they’re already back this year they will be sorely disappointed by the weather.  Snow poses greater hardships on most birds than does cold weather – with internal body temperatures of up to 110 F and the ability to trap air within the feathers as insulation, non-migrants do just fine when temperatures drop.  Snow, however, covers food and forces birds to expend a great deal of energy foraging. 

Emergency Feeding Measures

If your bird feeders are inaccessible to you due to snow, there are still a few things you can do to help see neighborhood birds through the worst of it.  Keep a few boards handy and toss these out on the snow to serve as “tables” – this will prevent the seed from sinking into the snow.  In an emergency, even cardboard or old throw rugs will suffice.

Creating Snow-Free Feeding Sites

More permanent emergency feeding stations can be fashioned by nailing 2 sheets of wood together in the shape of a tent, or by attaching a wooden overhang to a fence or the side of your home.

Strategically planted evergreen trees and bushes also work well in keeping a bare patch of ground open.

Please be sure to check out our extensive line of bird and wildlife foods and feeders for other ideas as well.

Silver Lining?

Snowstorms have one bright side (for birders if not for birds!)…species that would rather avoid us are forced to use out feeders – or even to feed upon others that use our feeders!  Please watch for Part II of this article for some winter hawk and owl observations.



Further Reading

Please see Hand Taming Wild Birds for some tips on a most enjoyable wintertime hobby.


About Frank Indiviglio

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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.
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