Recent winter storms have inspired us to focus on bird feeding during cold and inclement weather in this issue. Plus, learn tips to keep seed fresh!
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Cold Weather? Offer Suet Dough at the Feeder

In recent days, weather systems have brought plunging temperatures and heavy snowfall to North America—the kind of conditions that make living difficult for humans and birds alike! When cold and inclement weather hits, this is an ideal time to offer suet dough. High in fat and protein, this concoction is helpful to birds that have difficulty surviving ice storms and deep snow. Author, artist, naturalist, and BWD columnist Julie Zickefoose shares her own special recipe for Zick Dough, and lists the reasons why she loves offering it at her feeder!
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Introducing Redstart on the Road!

Test the latest and greatest birding optics at one of our small, COVID-safe, appointment-based events. Rather than expecting our fellow birders to gather in large groups at birding events to shop for optics, we’re bringing the optics to YOU!

Feeding Tip: How to Keep Your Seed Fresh (It's Easier Than You Think!)
The solution to eliminating stale seed comes from a technique your local grocer practices to manage the store’s inventory: First In, First Out, or FIFO. The principle is simple: Make sure the oldest inventory gets used first so that none of the inventory gets so old that it can’t be sold. Or, in the case of birdseed, make sure the old seed gets eaten before it gets stale and unfit to eat.

How to Feed Skulkers (Birds That Don't Often Visit the Feeder!)
Not all of our beloved backyard birds are regulars at the feeder. Some species like towhees and shy varieties of sparrows prefer to forage on the ground, skulking in the protection of bushes and wooded areas. Try sprinkling a handful of feeder offerings and turn their favorite spaces into secret feeding spots.

Bird Feet Won't Freeze on Feeder Perches! Why Is That?
We have to confess, we're in awe of a creature weighing little more than a first-class letter, surviving in winter's howling blizzards. Bird feet aren't like human feet. They're little more than bone and sinew and scale, not very richly supplied with nerves, so they don't feel the cold quite as much. But nature has a clever way of keeping them warm and functional when you'd think they'd freeze off.


ATTENTION, BIRDWIRE SUBSCRIBERS: We want to hear from you! Each issue of our birdy newsletter includes a poll question for our audience. Visit our website to offer your input and see results from fellow readers!
What extra measures have you taken to help birds during bad weather? Check all that apply.
• I am offering extra seed.
• I put out more feeders.
• I provided new food sources (like suet, mealworms, or peanuts).
• I installed a birdbath heater.
• I don't have feeders or bird baths in my yard
RESULTS OF OUR LAST POLL: We asked readers, "What do you feed the birds in your yard?" According to the results, the birds in your backyards have a delightfully varied menu! From the greatest to least percentage, the results are as follows: Sunflower seeds: 87%; Suet: 85%; Nyjer: 64%; Mixed seed: 63%; Peanuts: 49%; Mealworms: 31%; Safflower: 31%; and 27% reported offering a food not listed. Thanks to all who responded!


Out There with the Birds Podcast Episode #85: A Look Back at 2020, Part 2
After wrapping up a year of unprecedented challenges at Bird Watcher’s Digest, we wanted to give you some insight into how COVID-19 has impacted our lives both personally and professionally. Join BWD advertising sales director Kelly Ball, editor Dawn Hewitt, and publisher Wendy Clark as they talk about kissing 2020 and all of its obstacles goodbye, and looking ahead to new beginnings in 2021!
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The Invisible Townsend's Warbler
The Townsend’s warbler can be found throughout the West during migration—that is, if you can spot one in the dense foliage of the mature wooded habitats they prefer. Contributor L. E. Guidici shares his delight in having one frequent his feeders!
Getting Ready for Warblers
Many birders need a bit of priming before the migrating warblers pass through each spring. Columnist Alvaro Jaramillo offers tips on how to get ready for these highly anticipated visitors by using eBird and online birdsong recordings to brush up on your warbler ID skills.
Focus on Backgrounds
Perhaps only second to having a good subject is having a good background. BWD designer and professional photographer Bruce Wunderlich shares tips for creating smooth bokeh and avoiding distracting backgrounds.

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