Another April snowstorm is bearing down on portions of Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. Although such spring snowstorms are common in Wisconsin, the impacts on early migrants can be significant if the snow is deep and persists for more than a couple days. Getting snow near you? Here are some of the best ways you can help our early migrants and other birds through the adverse conditions.
- Clear snow to expose patches of bare ground. This will give ground-feeding birds like robins, hermit thrushes, woodcock, flickers, and sparrows critical access to natural foods.
- Offer suet and peanut chunks, in addition to sunflower seed (many species), nyjer seed (small finches), and white millet (sparrows, doves). These fatty foods may attract sapsuckers, robins, yellow-rumped warblers, and other species that don’t often frequent feeders.
- Offer mealworms, raisins, and/or frozen fruits. Live mealworms are best but can be hard to find. Dried mealworms often work. Fruits should be soaked and chopped if possible. Robins, bluebirds, and some insect-eating species may take advantage.
- Keep feeders full, free of snow and as dry as possible. Clear snow periodically during the storm and switch out seed if fully saturated.
- Provide birds shelter from snow and wind. Place feeders/seed where snow is least likely to pile up. Put a picnic table on its side or create a brush pile to shield birds from the feeding area. Make sure nest boxes are clean and ready for tenants like roosting bluebirds, chickadees, or tree swallows.