Most of my hummingbird feeders have come down. There's still two up next to their favorite perches in the hopes that a wayward little bird might find it on their travels south, though I know they're gone until next May. The gangs of catbirds I talked with all summer have flown the coop. The goldfinches and others have long departed for warmer pastures.
Tweet Tweet Tweet (That Means We're Hungry)
Just because the songbirds are gone doesn't mean that you should take your feeders down. Quite the opposite! We have a number of year round residents who still need to eat. Year round, I have two seed feeders and a suet cage. Right now, as it's cooler and food is becoming scarce, the feeders I'd refill once or twice a week are now being filled almost daily. These fools are hungry!
Through trial and error, my bird buddies prefer an equal mix of black oil sunflower seeds and unsalted peanuts. Simple! Don't bother with the bagged mixes, most of it gets wasted. Get a bag of seeds from the birding section of the store, and canisters of unsalted peanuts from the grocery. For suet, I use a standard size cage and cakes, they seem to prefer the spicy pepper variety.
Who Are the Hardcores?
It takes a special kind to withstand Upstate New York winters, and there are some bird breeds that are hardy enough to do so. Everyone loves the Northern Cardinal, and they keep us company over winter. Males are trademark bright red, and females are gray with red accents. As they forage in pairs, if you see a male, a female isn't far, and vice versa. Black-capped Chickadees are my ride-or-die birds, I see them snacking like it's nothing in the depths of January. Woodpeckers, specifically the hairy and downy variety stick around, and depend on suet to get them through the cold. Tufted Titmice are always close by, enjoying seeds and suet equally.
Leave Those Feeders Full!
Local birds have come to depend on humans for food to get through the winter over time. Be sure to leave those feeders up to help out little buddies get through the winter. Besides, it's a free show when all the other creatures are hibernating!