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Help Backyard Birds Recover from Sandy’s Drenching

In Sandy’s wake of wrath, our backyard birds need help.
    After days of sudden exposure to wet and cold, birds need to refuel with seed and suet to maintain body temperature and energy.
    “First and foremost, people need to get their feeders back up and fill them with fresh seed,” says Julie Curd, owner of Wild Bird Center of Annapolis.
    Even if you’re working with a small space, hang suet from a branch to satisfy your birds’ needs.
    Sunflower hearts — seeds without shells — are good food sources that conserve energy.
    Hang out food, and you’re likely to see new species.
    “We’ve seen an eruption of red-breasted nuthatches and pine siskins that normally aren’t this far south,” Curd says.
    The eastern coniferous forest had a dismal cone, hence seed, production this year, forcing both species to fly south to find food as winter approaches.
    Red-breasted nuthatches like peanuts and sunflower seeds. Pine siskins prefer nyjer seed.
    Both species will likely remain throughout the winter, Curd says.
    Local birds have also lost some of their habitat as trees and branches fell. Providing nest boxes gives them shelter.
    While you’re replenishing their food supply, use your binoculars to enjoy the creatures you’ve invited to your backyard.
    “It’s a fabulous time to watch birds,” Curd says.
    Wild Bird Center of Annapolis’ Cash for Clunkers offer continues through November 4. Trade in your old feeder for 20 percent off a new one plus up to $50 in coupons for future seed purchases. Usable old feeders will be donated to local senior centers and schools.