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These birds are here to stay

Will Stenberg captured a chickadee, above, and red-breasted nuthatch this month in Blackhoof Township. They are two species that stick through Minnesota winters. They can provide some entertainment outside windows during bleak winter stretches.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has some tips on winter bird feeding, saying there are three main choices of food for winter birds: large seeds, small seeds, and suet. Large seeds include black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, safflower, peanuts, shelled corn, ear corn and cardinal mixes that contain sunflower, safflower and peanuts.

About 80 to 90 percent of seed used in Minnesota is composed of black oil sunflower seeds and cardinal mixes. "These have the greatest appeal to the broadest variety of winter birds and contain a high energy content," the DNR said. "The list of birds that favor sunflower seeds is impressive: northern cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, house and purple finches, American goldfinches, evening and pine grosbeaks, Canada jays, nuthatches, crossbills, titmice, and more."

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