Indiana Winter Birds


Last winter. Oh, last winter. What a winter it was! So much snow. So much cold.

But one bright spot was the birds that would visit my feeder outside the kitchen.

Recently our library held a program about Indiana winter birds, and I took advantage of it (I wish more had; it was free and only 5 others attended).

Here are some things I learned:

  • 2/3 of birds in the US migrate
  • there is a free app where you can track current migration — looks neat, but since I don’t  have an iPhone, I’ll have to pass on it
  • how do birds navigate such large distances? They are sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field. Most migration occurs at night, and birds use the stars for navigation
  • small birds fly at 800-1600′ during the night, and at 200′ during the day

Our presenter also discussed various food for birds, and which foods attract which birds, in his experience:

  • Millett – attracts sparrows
  • Peanuts – blue jays (he said he watched a blue jay put 9 peanuts into its mouth at one time)
  • Cracked Corn – mourning doves
  • Black Sunflower Seed – many birds (my note — this is the feed I used last winter, and I ended up with tons of juncos and sparrows; also the occasional cardinal
  • Safflower Seed – cardinals, nuthatches (sparrows don’t like this)
  • Meal Worms – blue birds. Hmmm, I have a large container of dried meal worms that our hedgehog rejected. I may soak them to hydrate them this winter and put them out for the birds.

He mentioned the cold front that arrived the day of the program, and how he’d noticed the birds eating like crazy in anticipation of the change. It’s amazing to me how smart birds are, but maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, God made them that way, and he takes note of every sparrow …

Do you feed birds, either in the winter or year-round? What foods attract which birds in your experience?

You may also enjoy:

Passenger Pigeon Martha

Duck, Duck … Goose

2 thoughts on “Indiana Winter Birds

  1. I am glad you feed the birds. I am just now reminded that there’s a song about that. I too went to a program on migratory birds at my library very recently. My presenter said it is great to feed birds but she added they are going to find their food whether or not you feed them.
    Once I took an index card and taped it on my kitchen cabinet by my sink at 1310 S. Walnut Street. I wrote down each type of bird that I saw out my windows. You might enjoy doing that, too. Enjoying and feeding birds is a very cheap pleasure! It’s win win. A win for you and a win for your feathered friends!

  2. We’re not allowed to feed birds other than humming birds in my apartment building. Enjoy your birds.

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