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Giving Thanks
November 30, 2015

Thank you for the many Thanksgiving wishes and blessings, they mean so much to us.

Knowing our house has touched so many lives and planted so many seeds is priceless.

We did indeed have a nice Thanksgiving day and weekend.

No Black Friday shopping.

Some time with family.

Cleanup too.

Yes I do a good amount around here, as I try to lesson the burdensome load off Karen's back.

Changing seasons.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Christmas season is special for the Patterson house.

My mom made sure Christmas was special growing up.

Karen enjoys decorating and gives the season a special touch.

Yolanda, ........

Her brain injury brings her back to being a child once again.

What joy this brings, to she a little girl all over again on Christmas morning.

Have I ever told you, how blessed we are?

How dear God is to us.

Christmas Season.

For a few weeks, many people change.

Smiles and cheers are more commonplace.

It gives many us a chance to proclaim

'He Is The Reason for The Season'.

Okay, I know you want to know how Snickers is doing.

She is growing for sure.

Snick, Snick plays hard.

Anything on the floor is fare game.

Toss her a paper cup, or a paper towel tube and let the laughs begin.

What a joy she is.

Akita is slowly growing more tolerant, and sometimes wants to play.

She plays too rough, however.

Ziggy the Poodle......

He is flat out mean to SnickerDoodles.

Of the two older firkids, we figured he would be the friendlier of two.

This week's topic is on winter bird feeding.

I Know, I know...................

It is a topic near and dear to me.

It is also important for you if you feed wild birds.

Especially if you are new to this most wonderful hobby.


The life of a bird in the winter is not as stress-free as many people think.

As winter approaches, many birds change some of their eating habits.

Birds that usually eat insects may start to eat berries to supplement their diets.

Your feathered friends will start to look for reliable sources of food for wintertime survival.

In the fall, many birds began forming flocks,

It seems flocks of birds are better able to find food and protect themselves from predators.

In much of North America, winter can be a difficult time for birds.

The days are short, and nights are often cold and long.

In most locations, natural food supply has been consumed or is hidden by snow.

Most insects are dead or dormant.

To keep up their high metabolic rate, most backyard birds eat rich, energy foods such as suet, seeds, and insects.

Birds are wild creatures and still prefer to hunt and feed in the wild.

However, when birds are not prepared to deal with sudden drops in temperature or sudden winter storms, your feeders are often a lifesaver.

At times like these, it is especially helpful to have feeders full so that birds can find food.

Food for Winter Birds:

(Cooper's Hawk)

You may need to change some of the foods you offer your birds.

Providing high calorie and high fat foods is important.

The birds visiting winter feeders may be arriving in flocks or may come to the feeders as individuals, you will need to provide different options for the birds if possible.

It is best to have a perching spot such as a bush or tree for the birds to use to survey the feeding area and provide sufficient cover for safe refuge from predators and shelter from the wind and weather.

Three to 12 feet (1-3m) from protection is the suggested distance from feeder to protection of trees and shrubs.

The feeders should be positioned near cover but in the open to allow birds to watch for danger.

For ground feeding, an area near cover with a clear view of the surroundings is desirable.

Placing seed in a ground feeder entices birds such as sparrows, juncos, Mourning Doves, Northern cardinals, quail, pheasants, towhees, Brown thrashers, and Bluejays.

Platform and hopper feeders are especially good for attracting cardinals, wrens, chickadees, titmice, jays, and grosbeaks.

Hanging feeders, because they blow in the wind, are generally used by those species that are able to hang on while feeding such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and various finches.

Black Oil Sunflower is a great overall seed to offer in the winter.

It has a high calorie/ounce ratio due to its high fat and protein content and its relatively thin shell.

Oil sunflower has twice the calories per pound than striped sunflower and its smaller shells make less mess when discarded by the birds.

Not to mention, most desirable feeder birds prefer and enjoy Black Oilers.

Suet is a great food to offer many of the birds that will visit backyards in the winter.

It is a high energy, pure fat substance which is invaluable in winter when insects are harder to find and birds need many more calories to keep their bodies warm.

You can render your own suet, purchase suet raw or manufactured cakes.

Peanuts are another great food to offer birds in the wintertime.

Peanuts have high protein and fat levels and are often an ingredient in suet products.

Offering peanuts in a peanut feeder can provide a good source of protein for birds, not to mention entertainment for you.

Nyjer is high in oil and protein.

Small birds like Goldfinches, Redpolls, and even chickadees enjoy the tiny black seed.

Thistle socks and special feeders are manufactured just for these small birds and special seed.

Often called thistle, Nyjer isn't related to thistle in any way.

Indeed, it is a part of the sunflower family.

Other feed and seed can be purchase to feed birds.

Millet, red and white varieties.

A cheap source of food, but low in protein.

Still many ground feeding birds thrive on the small round seeds.

Safflower is pitched as a cardinal favorite.

It is just a sales pitch to sell a more expensive and over priced seed.

Safflower is much lower in needed protein and oil content that winter birds need.

Milo is used as a filler in cheap food blends, though I understand in some regions that Doves do like it.

Cracked Corn is low in proteins and fats, but a good source of starch.

Starch turns into sugar, which turns into energy.

Cracked corn is near and dear to me.

I started feeding birds cracked corn about 50 years ago.

I ruined my mom's hand crank meat grinder to grind and crack all the surplus indian corn I would grow.

Before bird feeding was big business, I was feeding birds cracked corn on a makeshift platform feeder in the backyard.

The birds this simple food source would attract was mind boggling.

Within a few years, my parents had purchased some feeders and were feeding birds year round.

This is a case of mom and dad getting the bug from me.

If cracked corn is all you can afford to feed birds, then by all means feed your birds cracked corn.

Other things to consider this winter.

Stamp down the snow below:

Ground-feeding birds such as dark-eyed juncos, doves and many sparrows will be able to gather up the seed that drop from the feeders if they don’t have deep snow to try to manage.

Keep your feeders full:

Winter birds need to stock up on calories especially for those long, cold winter nights.

Be consistent and keep feeding through the winter:

Birds grow accustomed to your feeders especially in severe weather when the snacks you offer may mean their very survival.

If you leave home for an extended period, try to have a neighbor or friend keep the feeders going.

Remember water:

Birds can become dehydrated in winter even if surrounded by ice and snow.

A thermostatically controlled birdbath heater in your birdbath will provide a water source all winter.

Putting out a pan of water near the feeder on warmer days is a terrific idea.

Hang feeders in safe locations:

Place bird feeders in locations that do not also offer hiding places for sneak-attacks by cats, hawks and other predators.

Think of placing the feeders ten to twelve feet from shrubs or brush piles.

This gives the birds some time to react.

Remember feeder cleanliness:

Your feeders can get a little nasty.

Because natural food sources are scarcer in the winter, more birds may be attracted to backyard feeders and those feeders will need to be cleaned some few times during the season.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care."

John C. Maxwell

Authority is always built on service and sacrifice.

Jame C. Hunter

Both gentlemen are authors, they write, teach and live as servant leaders.

Here is a small part of what Jesus and the Bible teaches.

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10: 43-45

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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