Looking at the radar, we feel for our northern neighbors who are getting hit with freezing rain and snow. Our Gulf Coast weather may be a bit more mild but it’s still winter and birds need to eat. Enter National Feed the Birds Day every February 3 to draw attention to birds’ need for food when it is most scarce. Shangri La Gardens is flanked by both the Central and Mississippi Flyways for seasonal bird migration and just like all those folks that head to Florida to escape the snow, several species of birds migrate to warmer climates, too. Providing snacks and shelter as they pass through will give them the rest and energy they need for the journey, especially when natural food sources are less available in the colder months.Here are some tips you can use to help our feathered friends fare the frigid temps:

🏠 Provide Shelter: evergreen trees, shrubs, and bird houses offer a place for birds to rest and keep warm. Shrubs like Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) are a two-fer as they provide shelter and a food source. The species Yaupon produces vibrant red berries that color an otherwise dull winter landscape while ‘Saratoga Gold’ is cheerfully arrayed in sunny golden-yellow berries that cardinals and other birds love.

💪 Feed them the Right Food: high-protein, high-energy seed mixes or suet cakes give birds the nutrition they need to build up energy for their long migration. Some birds fly as fast as we drive (between 15-55 mph) and can travel as much as 600 miles per day. Just think how many protein bars you would need to consume to keep up with the birds! The internet offers many recipes and DIY tips for making your own seed cakes, like the ones we used to decorate our Christmas tree (they didn’t last long, that’s for sure!).

🧹 Keep It Clean: Keep your feeders and suet holders clean and well stocked.

💧Water, water, water: Birds need to hydrate, too, so be sure to provide fresh water daily. If you’re in an area prone to extended freezing, bird bath heaters will keep the ice at bay and give your backyard buddies a welcoming hydration station.Do you feed the birds? Let us know in the comments how you’re going to recognize #nationalfeedthebirdsday🐦