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Wichita Falls Living Magazine

For the Birds

If you're like many of us warm-blooded West Texans, you might think winter is, well, for the birds. And you're right. Not all birds migrate during the year's coldest months. Some - like woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals, bluejays, and more - stay right at home year-round. Others might even make a surprise stop, straying from their typical territory. And the leaf-less trees make these birds stand out in the winter perhaps more than any other time of year.

H.C. Summers Feed and Supply has some great tips on how to make the most of your newfound outdoor hobby:

1. Go to the Right Places
Birds are easier to spot in places that fulfill their needs for food, water, and shelter. Areas with fruit trees or seed-bearing flowers that still hold autumn produce are ideal, and any slow-moving river or marshy area that still has open water might be home to a variety of winter waterfowl. Try Christoval, the Concho River Downtown, or the San Angelo State Park.

2. Join Birding Events
Contact a local birding club or Audubon chapter for upcoming events,, and join the group for some spectacular winter birding and safe, socially distanced socialization, to boot!

3. Bring the Birds to You
If you're still not keen on weathering the winter, it's not difficult to attract birds to your own backyard. Purchase a feeder and a birdbath from your favorite local hardware store and fill the former with high-calorie treats such as suet, nuts, and sunflower seeds. Heat your birdbath to ensure the water doesn't freeze. Sprinkle some seed under a patio table or deck, and leave bird houses up for overnight roosts.

A simple pinecone bird feeder makes an instant feeding station in your yard.  

  • Pinecone-look for a large broader cone
  • Peanut Butter-any type chunky or smooth, birds are not picky
  • Birdseed-a mixed birdseed is perfect
  • Twine-important avoid fishing line because birds could become tangled.
Making the Feeder
  • Shake, tap, or brush the pine cone lightly to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Tie the string or twine around the feeder, placing it two to three rows of scales below the wider end of the cone with the scales overlapping the string to hold it securely in place.
  • Use the knife to coat the cone with a layer of peanut butter, as thick or thin as desired. Press some peanut butter between rows of scales, filling in larger gaps.
  • Once the cone is completely coated with peanut butter, roll it in the birdseed in the shallow dish, pressing lightly to keep the seed adhered to the cone. Work the seed in between the rows of scales.
  • Hang your feeder in a tree in a cool shaded area.

Winter birding may not be quite as dazzling as the spring and summer when hummingbirds buzz about, but it's still a season you don't want to miss - or take for granted. 
Fall 2021 Issue
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