January 17, 2009
We've had several very cold days. When I walked Ben this morning, the temperature was one degree Fahrenheit, and that was around 10 AM. (I had procrastinated, hoping the sun would warm up the ground. Ben often naps patiently in the morning.)
I just read of a Wisconsin study of black-capped chickadees when temperatures are below 10 degrees. Chickadees with access to feeders have a survival rate of 69% but those without feeders have only a 37% survival rate in such cold weather. So be sure to feed the birds when it's cold like it was today! You can throw seed on the ground if you don't have a feeder.
I wouldn't throw it on the ground in warm weather though. You may attract wildlife that you don't want. Several people around here have seen bears pawing at their bird feeders! We stop feeding the birds in early spring, about the time that bears come out of hibernation.
By the way, human food such as bread is very unhealthy for deer. We saw warning signs on the Blue Ridge Parkway about this, so don't scatter baked goods around for wildlife.