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North Dakota Outdoors - Winter Feeders

Not all of our fine feathered friends fly south in the fall. Many of our smallest winged residents stick around and tough it out through the harsh North Dakota winter.

Bright, vivid birds like the House Finch ...

The Goldfinch

The Pine Sisken

The Evening Grosbeak

The Downy Woodpecker

Or the Black-Capped Chickadee

These tiny, enterprising animals can provide hours of wonderful, wintertime entertainment.

But they can use a little help, too. Chris Grondal of the Game and Fish Department tells us how to look after these winter birds.

(Chris) Once you start feeding birds, you want to make sure you keep feeding all winter until spring thaw. Probably one of the best foods for winter birds are black-oiled sunflowers. Now black-oiled sunflowers are good because they are small. The provide a lot of protein and fat for birds that are trying to keep their body temperatures up over the winter months.


You can make a platform feeder like this -- just a somple piece of wood and fill it up with black-oiled sunflowers, millet or thistle seed and this will probably attract the biggest variety of birds you can find which is probably between 12 and 15 species.

This type of bird feeder is called a thistle feeder and will attract different species of birds such as finches (purple or house) and pine sisken.

Here is a black-oiled sunflower head hung from a wire to keep the squirrels from bothering it and this provides a natural type of setting.


Food isn't the only important item. This is a water source and it is simply a heater which is bought commercially and hooked up to an electric source from your house. The reason I say commercial is because of safety purposes. These heaters run from $30-40. Believe it or not, a water source will probably bring in as many birds as a food source.

Winter feeders bring a great return for a small investment. For blueprints and designs call Chris Grondahl at Game & Fish - 701-328-6612. (An e-mail message to will be forwarded to Chris)

This is Lex Hames for the North Dakota Game and Fish, out among the great North Dakota outdoors -- some of which is really very close to home.

For additional information about bird feeding and birding. Feed Birds

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Last modified Nov. 27, 1995