The other day as I took a ride through the foot hills of southern Illinois I noticed many deer out in the open. The reason they were so out in the open is because they were looking for food. Many of those that live near the Shawnee have placed corn , feed and etc.. to help out the wildlife when the winter has left them with less. Here at home I notice birds in the yard that rely on individuals to feed them as well. Want to help out? I am sure the birds would appreciate it. Here are some tips I have found useful:
When purchasing bird seed look for high quality seed. Sunflower seed, maize and peanut granules are great. Others containing small and large seeds makes it more useable to many types of birds. Mixes containing split peas, lentils, beans, rice should be avoided as smaller birds can not use this type of seed. Place the seed in a bird feeder, sprinkle on the ground or spread out on a table are all acceptable ways of feeding the birds.
Robins and blackbirds may appreciate a treat of meal worms as well. You can purchase these from pet shop or garden center.
Fat balls offer birds food and energy in the winter. Made up of lard, suet, nuts, cereals and sunflower seeds. Sparrows, starlings, blackbirds all welcome fat balls. Purchase fat balls in pet shops or garden centers or you can make your own. Fat balls may be sold in mesh bags that need removed before hanging for the birds. Fatty food sources are hard to come by in the winter and fat balls help birds replace the natural source.
Like food water is hard to come by as well. The birds would love for you to offer them a bit of water as well. Simply placed in a large bowl the birds will find it easily Remember it is cold outside so the water bowl will have to be changed from time to time.