Winter birding can deliver some unexpected delights. Now that birds are done with the breeding and migrating seasons, for instance, they'll start settling into their winter routines. What that usually means is that many will gather in flocks and forage for food. When you have a chance to watch these activities, nature lovers can observe melodic calls and fascinating social behaviors.

Make your yard more inviting to these wintering birds by providing the three necessities: water, shelter and food. Then you can enjoy watching the show from the cozy comfort of your home.

Water: When the world is a frozen wonderland, birds will sometimes travel several miles to reach a reliable water source. Set out water for birds so they can drink and bathe, and you may pull in a few more species that wouldn't otherwise be interested in your feeders. Use an immersion-style heater to keep the water thawed and clean it often. Be sure to place it in a location so birds can visit without danger from predators.

Shelter: If you look around your yard, a few minor adjustments to your fall routine might really help area birds. Start by postponing until spring the clearing of taller winter-killed perennials, as these can provide ready shelter. Additionally, keep your birdhouses mounted. Finally, as you leaf through your seed catalogs while dreaming of spring, consider adding some of these bird-friendly trees and bushes.

Food: Even though some species keep busy stashing seeds and nuts during the summer, birds will always be on the lookout for winter food sources. Keep a bird feeder or two filled so they get the fuel they need to last through those cold days and nights. Better yet, choose a premium blend that a variety of birds will find appetizing, such as shelled peanuts, sunflower kernels, pistachios and black-oil sunflower seeds, plus many other nutritious nuggets found in Lyric's Supreme Mix.