Birds Need Energy-Packed Foods to Survive the Winter

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Help songbirds endure long, cold winters by providing nutritious foods rich in life-saving oils and fats.

The arrival of winter presents songbirds with an enormous challenge -- how to keep warm. They must consume large amounts of calories, which are then metabolized to provide energy and body heat. Small songbirds eat continuously during the short daylight hours of winter to maintain their body temperature. The availability of food has a lot to do with a bird's chances of survival. Backyard birding retailers, such as, offer a wide variety of foods perfect for cold weather feeding.

Pre-packaged suet is available from in a flavorful assortment of cakes, balls and plugs -- all convenient to use. Suet should be served in a special basket style feeder, suet ball feeder or in a suet log feeder if you are using 'sausage' style suet plugs. Most pre-packaged suets are blended with seeds, corn, peanuts, insects or even tasty fruit bits.

All songbirds love black oil sunflower seeds. The shell is thin and easy for a small bird to crack open -- and the center hearts are large and full of oils and protein. Black oil sunflower seed, sunflower hearts and sunflower chips should be a year round staples for your wild birds. All can be purchased at

Peanut butter, shelled peanut halves, whole peanuts and peanut bits are enjoyed by most winter birds and provide lots of protein, oils and fats. You can also serve seed mixes that have proportionately large quantities of other nuts. These are generally called tree nuts and can include pecans, cashews, walnuts, hazel nuts, or any other nuts harvested abundantly during a given season. Woodpecker Blend is an exciting new introduction at It's loaded with delicious peanuts, cashews, whole sunflower hearts and more.

Corn is well known as a heat producing vegetable. Loved by doves, crows, blackbirds and jays, it will also be taken in small amounts by other birds like nuthatches and titmice. The best way to offer corn is finely cracked, rather than whole kernels. Many prepared mixes contain finely cracked corn such as Four Season No-Waste available at

Extremely rich in oils, the tiny Nyjer seed is loved by goldfinches, siskins and redpolls and should be fed in specially designed Nyjer feeders with very small seed 'ports.' When mixed in small quantities with other seeds, Nyjer can also be fed in just about any style feeder. A customer favorite at is their bestselling Fancy Finch Mix -- a No-Waste blend of Nyjer, sunflower chips, canary seed and millet.

And remember birds need ice-free water as much as food. Provide both to help birds through the winter.

About Duncraft

Duncraft, Inc., located in Concord, NH, was founded in 1952. The Duncraft Living with Nature Catalog and the website offers hundreds of the very best wild bird and nature-related gifts, birdfeeders, bird foods, backyard pest solutions and garden décor. Visit Duncraft's blog at for great backyard birding tips from the experts. Or, share your own tips, photos and personal stories with the enthusiastic Duncraft community.


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