How to Help Bird Species During Extremely Cold Weather

It's difficult for bird species to survive during extremely cold weather. Here's what you can do to help.

Birds, and wildlife in general, have tough lives. They are constantly exposed to the elements. Whether it’s hot or cold, raining or snowing, they have to adapt and survive. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re backyard bird species are taken care of during extremely cold weather.

How to Help Bird Species During Extremely Cold WeatherRob Ripma
Rob Ripma Birds like this Dark-eyed Junco will greatly benefit from your help during extremely cold weather.
  1. Put food out early. Birds need to eat immediately in the morning as they have used their fat reserves to stay warm overnight. Easy access to food in the morning is very important.
  2. Provide water. Once lakes and rivers freeze over, water can be very difficult to come by. A heated birdbath just might be the most important item you can put out in extremely cold weather.
  3. Offer shelter. Giving birds a way to escape the wind can help keep them warm. You can do anything from a simple stick pile in the corner of your yard to putting up roosting boxes for them to use. A longer term plan would be to plant quality native trees and shrubs.
  4. Use high energy foods. The more energy birds can gather quickly, the more likely they are to survive. Peanuts, sunflower chips, and suet are all great options. Not only are they high energy, they are also quick and easy for the birds to eat allowing them to feed more efficiently.
  5. Refill your feeders late in the day. Allowing your birds to have access to full feeders just before sunset will help provide them the energy they need to survive the night.

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.