For the Birds

feeders
Ever since reading an article that says birds have a 60% better chance of making it through the winter with help from people, our new family hobby is taking care of the birds who stay around our area.We’ve been reading up on how to attract wild birds to our backyard and learning how to help them survive our Chicago winters.
birdbath
We got a heated bird bath to provide water and have hung a few different types of feeders. We put out thistle, suet, black oil sunflower, and a general wild bird mix. Birds especially need suet for the extra fat and calories it provides during the colder months. The feeders are hung near the bird bath and some bushes, so they have places to quickly run for cover and safety while they feed.
sophia pinecone
Sophia and I made pine cone feeders smeared with peanut butter and rolled in seed. Those are hanging all over the place. We put up the decoy corn feeders for the squirrels, as advised by various bird sites, but they seem to be on to our ploy and head right for the pricey sunflower seeds.

We have a great little local shop called For the Birds. When I went in to pick up the heated bird bath, the owner explained that birds need places to build nests starting in February, so we’ve started looking around for birdhouses. I’ve come across a wide range of really cute, modern designs and some ideas for making our own. I think this version, which uses suction cups to hold it to a window, would be really interesting and educational for the kids.

DesignMilk has put together a great collection of fun and interesting birdhouses.

Birdhouse from Vlaemsch ()

Cube Birdhouse by Loll 

OOms Solar Birdhouse

Birdland by Roger Arquer

Roost by Hepper Home

 Any other cute finds out there? Any other tips for attracting wild birds to your yard or helping them through the winter?

UPDATE:
More links on backyard birding:

How to: homemade biscuit bird feeder ornaments

Shopping link to the clear suction cup window hooks we hang some of our feeders on.

Wild Birds, Unlimited

http://www.backyardbirdingblog.com/

http://www.birding.com/backyardbirding.asp

http://www.backyardnature.net/birds.htm

http://www.wild-bird-watching.com/