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Tuning In To BirdTV: Being a friend to birds and squirrels 

By: Bethany Helaine Pöltl 

Every morning in the winter at my house, we replenish the bird seed outside and leave the porch curtains open slightly, setting up what my mom and I call “BirdTV” for our cat, BB. She sits behind the window all morning as birds come and go, stopping in for a snack before continuing on their daily journey. Eventually squirrels become curious as to what’s going on, and they join the brunch party too. BirdTV is amazing and fun to watch for both BB and I. Bluejays, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, the occasional Black-capped Chickadee swoop in from their tree perches and squirrels scurry down the side of the house as if they were waiting for me to put out more seed. Want to tune into BirdTV at your house? All you need to know are a few simple things to get started!

  1. When should I start feeding birds? 

It’s not necessary to feed most birds year round. It is most helpful to feed birds in late winter or early spring when natural seed resources are depleted or scarce. We start putting out seed for our birds in mid to late November. 

2. How do I put the seed out? 

As you can see in the photos I captured from my BirdTV, you can put the seed out however you like! As long as there is not too much snow so it gets lost, I try to find an open area or clear some snow out of the way to lay the seed down. If it’s there birds and squirrels will find it!

Bluejay Convention Photo by: Bethany Helaine Pöltl


3. Where can I put the seed? 

If you have a porch, scatter the seed there. If you have a smaller space or live in an apartment you can adapt by putting your seed in an old baking tray or bird feeder. This takes up less room and is contained, the birds can still access it, but it fits your space. You can tune into BirdTV no matter what your space looks like by getting creative! If you absolutely don’t have space for seed, grab some hot chocolate to share, find a friend with a porch/balcony/strip of grass and visit them to get your daily dose of bird watching. 

4. What kind of seed should I buy? 

That depends on what customers you want to attract. I’ve found seed mixes with peanuts are popular with squirrels and bluejays. Any seed mix that is labeled for birds in your region should do. You can even try making your own seed mixes in the summer if you grow sunflowers and other seed plants and harvest these seeds for the winter! 

Feeding your local bird and squirrel friends is a great way to support them in the winter and make sure they have enough energy to do all their exploring and chores. Have fun tuning into BirdTV! 

Two Squirrels at breakfast Photo by: Bethany Helaine Pöltl
Mourning Dove in Snow Photo by: Bethany Helaine Pöltl
Two Squirrel Adventurers Photo by: Bethany Helaine Pöltl

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