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Feed Iowa birds through the winter to keep them coming all year

Bird at sunset.
Bird at sunset.
Benjamin Miller

Birds are powerful allies in an organic gardener’s struggle against insect infestations. They eat the creepy little bugs that are trying their hardest to destroy your precious plants.

Let your feathered friends know they are welcome in your yard by giving them plenty of food, water and shelter. And don’t stop helping out your little helpers just because it’s winter. During the winter, birds need you more than ever. Their natural food supply has dwindled and they need the high-calorie goodies you leave for them to have a better chance at surviving the frigid Iowa winters.

Many of the birds you are used to seeing don’t migrate for the winters. In his book Birds of Iowa Field Guide, Stan Tekiela lists the House Finch, American Goldfinch, White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Sparrow and Northern Cardinal among the insect-eating birds that don’t leave Iowa in winter. Since these birds also eat seed or suet, you can attract them to your yard during the winter, in hopes that they will keep coming back year-round.

Since they have to endure the long cold months here in Iowa they need your help, just like you will need their help in next year’s garden.

Keep your feeders full of black sunflower, suet, peanuts and dried fruit to help your birds keep up their energy.

Many kinds of birds know where to feed by memory. If your yard has food, water and shelter they will remember and keep coming back. So announce that yours is a bird-friendly space by filling your bird feeders with the fattening seeds, nuts and fruit they need. They will learn that you feed them and in the spring they likely won’t disappoint you.

Visit Wild Birds Unlimited for high-quality feeders and food, and for their expert advice.


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