The Audubon Shop at 907 Boston Post Road in Madison, CT is open Thursday and we were wondering, what can people do to help birds traumatized by Sandy?
Here is the answer from owners Janet and Jerry Connolly:
Jerry and I would say to put your feeders back out (if brought in during the storm) and keep your feeders full to help them recover from being cold and wet during any storm--they need to be able to easily find seed to keep their weight up.
For example, a Chickadee's internal temp. is 102 (!) and because they are warm blooded, when temps dip, they need to eat more to function. Visiting Titmice looked much smaller than their normally fluffed up selves during the storm - they were soaked!
When winds pick up, birds seek shelter where they can - inside dense evergreens or dense brush, etc. There is inevitable movement and mortality, but birds are resourceful, and will seek out food sources to recover.
A simple plan would be to offer seed on a tray such as your backyard picnic table, or on a patch of ground. A good ground mix, or even cracked corn is inexpensive and perfect. Broadcasting seed at the edge of the yard where birds will hide in bushes is a good idea, too.
We are still seeing a ton of Pine Siskins at our feeders, a northern winter finch not found in our area every year. They will eat Nyjer, or thistle, and those feeders start at $3.99.
The Audubon Shop's #2 Sunflower attracts the widest variety of birds, is a high energy food, and is nice and clean. Its a mixture of +-80% Sunflower Hearts and +-20% Black Oil Sunflower. Our top seller because so many birds love it. It is appropriate for almost any feeder.
We also sell inexpensive lightweight peanut feeders that can hang on a window--these are great for winter viewing. We have one on our kitchen window at home. It hangs on a suction cup on the storm window. Under the roof overhang, it's out of most of the wind, and we get to see Titmice, Carolina Wrens, Chickadees, Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied Woodpeckers all visit us up close and personal!
Suet is a high energy food source, too.
For kids who need an activity that will make them feel good, here's a simple recipe:
1 part peanut butter (Crunchy is best)
1 part shortening 1 part flour 3 parts cornmeal
1 part cracked corn
other optional additions/substitutions: stale bread crumbs, black oil sunflower seeds and/or mixed seed, rolled oats, leftover baked goods crumbled up, raisins