Using your BirdCam during the winter months can result in stunning bird images and videos. Birds' plumage stands in stark contrast to the dull, monochromatic winter background. Plus, overcast skies and longer dusks and dawns offer better lighting for photography.
Because the BirdCam is weatherproof, you don't have to worry about protecting it from winter weather conditions. You can even set it on the ground to capture wildlife photos set against a blanket of snow.
Birds need food and water more than ever during winter.
Here are some easy ways to attract more birds:
- If you had a live tree for the holidays, consider putting it out by your BirdCam when you are finished with it. This adds a warm, protected spot from hawks for sparrows, juncos, chickadees and cardinals. Keep the tree at least ten feet from the feeders to prevent squirrels from using it as a launching pad to your feeders.
- For a really unique photo opportunity, cover your Christmas tree with bird treats. Take stale bread or toast and cut them into shapes with cookie cutters. Spread peanut butter on the shapes and cover with sunflower hearts, mixed nuts and dried fruit. You can also set the treats on the trees and suet feeders.
- The best food to have out right now includes suet, black-oil sunflower, peanuts, Nyjer thistle and mixed nuts.
- If you have turkeys or pheasant feeding beneath your feeders, offer them cracked corn and white millet.
- Suet usually fed in cages for woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches can also be offered in crumbled chunks on trays for cardinals and blue jays.
- Scatter white millet, sunflower chips and Nyjer thistle around brush piles for dark-eyed juncos.
- Spreading chunky peanut butter mixed with cornmeal and raisins on the sides of trees is a great source of food for woodpeckers, nuthatches and creepers.
- Try offering food for the squirrels in a different spot. A little bribery never hurts. They love corn, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
- Goldfinches live in large nomadic flocks in the winter. One week you will be inundated with birds, the next the perches will be empty. For best results, be patient and keep the feeders full of fresh seed.
- More birds eat black oil sunflower seed than any other type of bird feed out there. If you are only going to offer one seed and want the most variety of species, only feed the black oil sunflower.
If you aren't having a lot of bird activity, check out your feeders and make sure they're clean. After a storm, seed can get moldy and keep birds away. Also, dirty feeders spread disease like salmonella. Use a mild solution of bleach and water or anti-bacterial soap to clean out your feeders and make sure they dry thoroughly before you refill them with seed. If no one has visited your feeder for more than five days at a time, make sure the food hasn't gotten clogged in the feeder with ice.
If the forecast is for a storm, watch your feeders. If birds are feeding in a frenzy that usually means a storm is brewing. If there is little to no activity we'll only get flurries.
Try hanging feeders right off of your window. It helps keep birds from flying into them and you get an up close view of your favorite birds.
December is the time of year for the Christmas Bird Count. It's an important event that tracks the population of birds in your area. It can be a great way for you to hone your bird id skills, learn what exciting birds are in your neighborhood or even make a new birding buddy. Call your local Audubon Chapter to find out the date for your town's count and sign up.