The Importance of Fat and Calories in a Bird's Diet
Whether they are preparing for fall migration or the onset of winter, birds need foods that are high in oil, fat and calories. These foods and stored body fat are the primary energy supply that fuels a bird throughout migration and during long, cold winter nights.
Seed-eating birds will continue to look for sources of seeds that will provide them with their essential fall and winter fat and calories. So it's important to offer the right seeds in your bird feeders. Many of these seeds, including black oil sunflower, niger (thistle) and millet, are featured in our regionally-formulated, customized seed blends that also have other seasonally appropriate ingredients.
WBU Choice Blend
A combination of black oil sunflower, sunflower chips, striped sunflower, safflower seed, and peanuts to provide birds with energy during the fall and winter.
I use Choice blend in my WBU Elimininator Squirrel-proof feeder. Choice Blend is the top-selling blend at WBU-Saratoga.
WBU Supreme Blend
Loaded with fat and calories, Supreme Blend features black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, safflower seed and sunflower chips. It attracts a wide variety of birds. I use this seed in my hopper feeders.
WBU Deluxe Blend
Full of black oil sunflower seeds, millet, striped sunflower and safflower. It's an excellent fall and winter blend for ground feeders like juncos, doves, and native sparrows.
I sometimes fill my hopper feeder that has a tray underneath with Deluxe Blend so that whatever gets swept out by the jays (the millet) gets caught by the tray, providing a great feeding surface for my juncos and native sparrows. I also broadcast Deluxe blend on the ground in the areas most frequented by foraging juncos.
WBU No-Mess Blend
Loaded with fat, protein and carbohydrates, no-mess is a clean feeding solution - no shells to clean up!
I put out no-mess (or straight sunflower chips) for the goldfinches that gobble it up like I do a lazy-woman's lobster!
NUTS & BERRIES/FRUIT
Loaded with fat and protein, peanuts provide birds with energy and are particularly helpful as birds fatten up for migration and during the winter months when the extra calories help keep them warm. This fall, peanuts have been particularly popular with my birds - I wonder if that means the winter will be especially severe? Here's the top 5 birds that consume peanuts at my feeders.
Birds that eat insects may start to eat berries to supplement their diets. Dried or fresh fruit are a winter favorite of birds such as robins, waxwings, and bluebirds. The Cranberry Fare Seed Cylinder is loaded with seeds, nuts and cranberries and is a great way to offer your fall and winter birds these foods.
SUET & FATS
Suet is a high-energy, pure-fat substance that is particularly helpful in winter when many birds have a hard time finding the insects they normally eat. Bark Butter, suet cakes and suet plugs, suet nuggets, and suet cylinders and Stackables are all high-fat, high-energy foods perfect for birds' winter needs.
I LOVE to offer Bark Butter (and my birds love that I do!), both on Bark Butter feeders and as the innards of Bark Butter Sandwiches. Here's some of my favorite Bark Butter creations. And my log suet plug feeders are a favorite of my woodpeckers. It feels just like a tree to them!
As temperatures fall, birds have a more difficult time finding the limited nubmer of live, active insects. Loaded with protein, mealworms can help you attract common and uncommon insect-eating birds like bluebirds or wrens.
In cold weather, put mealworms out when birds are present and most likely to partake.
As days get shorter and nights get longer, birds will be busiest at your feeders if you offer a variety of these foods to meet their winter energy needs.
Adapted from a WBU Inc. article