By: Bonita Wilborn
Long cold winter weather can be especially hard on our neighboring song birds. Wild birds can be very resourceful, gleaning most of their food from the natural habitat. Many gardeners plant native fruit bearing and seed bearing plants in their home landscapes to lure birds in. Some examples of plants are Hollies for fruit and Rudbeckia’s (Black-Eyed Susan type flowers) for seeds.
The real problems occur when an ice storm or snow covers all the twigs and branches where birds usually get insect larva and seeds. That’s when our feathered friends can use supplemental food.
It’s also important to keep a less than tidy yard. Leaf litter, fallen branches, and seed heads from summer flowers provide a natural source of food and provide nooks and crannies for over wintering moths, butterflies, and other insects. We often manage our gardens so they look good without a thought about natural habitat.
The Johnny Jump Ups Jr. Gardeners, under the sponsorship of the Rainsville Garden Club, recently met to make simple bird feeders. The leader Ann Houston, also a Master Gardener, taught the juniors to spread peanut butter on pieces of card board or pine cones and roll in a mixture of black oil sunflower seeds, raisins, and dried bread crumbs. The feeders can then be hung on branches or fences as a treat for birds. Ms. Houston discouraged the feeding of cracked corn and other cheaper bird foods as these attract mice, crows and other undesirable creatures.
The Rainsville Garden Club is a member of the Northeast Alabama Federation of Garden Clubs, District II, The Garden Club of Alabama Inc., Deep South Garden Clubs, and National Garden Clubs Inc.