Nature Matters: This winter hard on birds, too

By KBJR News 1

March 4, 2014 Updated Mar 4, 2014 at 12:25 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)
This crow was found hobbling around Duluth's Woodland neighborhood just a few days ago.
It had an injured wing and was just about starved to death.

"Cold weather is definitely hard on all kinds of birds and really for them, it's a matter of can I get enough to eat." said Ashley Hrabe of Hartley Nature Center.

This long, cold winter has been so tough on deer that the Minnesota DNR will start an emergency feeding plan this week.
Do we need to do the same for birds?
The staff at Hartley Nature Center thinks so.

"Leave brush piles out and the birds hide in them and just feeding them is the most important thing; putting out bird seed helps so much." said Becky Sax.

Becky Sax of Hartley says commercial bird feeds are a healthy blend of nutrition for a wide variety of birds but we can put out other treats as well.

"You can put cranberries, popcorn, that kind of stuff out." Said Sax.

"The birders at Hartley Nature Center tell us that bird feeders serve two purposes. One is to feed birds and also little animals. The second is to provide a food source for raptors that are awfully hungry this time of year." said reporter Dave Anderson.

"That's definitely beneficial for raptors especially the ones that hunt small mammals because it concentrates them in one spot." said Hrabe.

With deer feeding, there are fears that sharing food sources spreads disease.
With birds, the risk is much smaller so the crew at Hartley thinks home bird feeding makes a definite difference.

"I think so. What would your backyard be without birds there?" said Sax.

In Duluth for Nature Matters, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

The crow recently brought to Wildwoods will become an education bird at a facility on the East Coast.
Wildwoods wants to remind folks that they consider no animal too small to rescue.
They'll help anything from field mice to bears.