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Water in a bird bath or other container often attracts birds in spring and summer, but the costs of maintaining open water through the winter are not justified. Birds survive on water derived from foods they eat and from eating snow. Seed_eating birds, like crossbills, are sometimes attracted by salt and other minerals that can be supplied by a salt block. Plantings for Wildlife: If your yard has few trees and/or shrubs, birds will probably not be attracted to a feeder. Their need for shelter and protection from predators is often stronger than their attraction to an artificial food source. Also, because birds will not normally visit your yard in search of natural food if there are no trees or shrubs, they would be unlikely to detect food in your feeder. Don't despair, however! Start planning to landscape your yard for birds.
When to Feed Birds. Some birds will visit feeders year_round once they are familiar with the location of a dependable food supply. Birds are most easily attracted in winter, however, because natural food supplies are least abundant then. Feeders should be set up in late summer or early fall, then maintained through the winter and spring until natural food sources are again abundant.