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Trump takes the gloves off versus Kavanaugh accusers. Also on the Wednesday rundown: rural areas reap benefits from Medicaid expansion; a two-generation approach to helping young Louisiana parents; and a new documentary on the impact of climate change in North Carolina.

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Tossing MO Wild Birds a Winter Lifeline

December 27, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missourians by the thousands love to put out bird feeders over the winter to attract feathered friends to their back yards. They may not realize that a bird's diet must fuel a metabolism that can require up to a whopping 10,000 calories a day, so the kind of food you offer has not only to appeal to the birds, but be nutritious for them as well.

National Wildlife Federation naturalist David Mizejewski recommends a combination of seed and suet. But he says the best way to help wild birds survive the winter lies in what you plant around your property.

"What you want to think about doing, first and foremost, is adding plants to your landscape that have berries, seeds, nuts and that kind of thing. Those are the foods that that the birds are going to be feeding on in the winter."

He says there are some old wives' tales when it comes to wild bird feeding, like the one that says, once you start feeding the birds, you can't stop.

"It is something of a myth that birds will become dependent upon your feeder and that if you stop feeding once you start, that the birds are going to suffer and maybe even die. That's because the research shows that birds really only use feeders as a supplement to the natural foods they find in the landscape."

Keeping feeders clean and offering fresh water are two additional tips from Mizejewski.

The National Wildlife Federation has a Certified Wildlife Habitat program to educate people about how to safely attract wildlife like birds, even in urban settings.

More information, and an application to fill out to get your yard certified as wildlife habitat, are available online at

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO