Too often, people make the common mistake that all birds fly south for the winter, so the wild birds that they feed in the warmer months don’t need to be fed in the winter because they’re not around. This is a huge misconception, as many birds, such as woodpeckers, sparrows, and other friendly chirpers actually hang around in the winter months as well, and still need you to feed them as you have been all summer long.
Birds are habitual creatures, especially wild birds. Once you begin feeding wild birds, the same birds and flocks will continue to feed from your yard and trees as they are familiar with their feeding grounds. With you feeding them all summer long, they become accustomed to the treats they receive during the year, and will continue to search for food in your yard in the winter months, only to come up disappointed in the winter if you fail to feed them, thinking they are gone.
In fact, the only reason it appears that the wild birds have sought refuge elsewhere in the winter months is because they are failing to get fed by you. It only takes a few visits from the wild birds coming up empty-handed for them to seek food sources elsewhere, which may lead you to believe the birds are entirely gone, and once they realize that you are no longer feeding them, they lose the familiarity of your home as a feeding ground, and may or may not return in the spring.
If you feed the wild birds in the spring and summer months, if you want the wild birds to continue coming to your home for food, you need to continue feeding them during the winter months so they know they can rely on your home as a food source, and they can continue to bring you enjoyment in your yard.
When feeding wild birds in the winter months, it’s important to add gravel to their food, which can be found at local pet sections in any grocery stores (such as Gravel and Grits). The gravel is typically ground up shells and clay, and assists the wild birds’ crops in digestion, as in the winter months they have a more difficult time finding small bits of gravel and sand to consume on their own.
personal experience feeding wild birds