We get it. We’re deep in the heart of the winter season, and your feathered friends have been flying by your same old empty feeder thinking, “Really!?”.
With these simple winterization tips and tricks, those birdies will soon be singing a different tune, as your feeder will be transformed into a warm and safe paradise for the birds who stick around during this winter season. Snow, ice, and winter winds can all cause havoc for winter bird nerds, however, those of us who prepare and maintain our feeders will be spoiled with an abundance of gorgeous winter birds.
Choosing Winter Feeders
The easiest way to ensure your feeders are ready for winter is to purchase a more winter-friendly feeder in the first place. Things to look for in a winter feeder include:
- A larger capacity seed storage that is protected or covered from the elements to keep your seed dry and unspoiled.
- Avoid cloth or mesh netting, as those feeders will tend to retain excess moisture and spoil your seed (try metal feeders instead).
- If you want your backyards birds to get the five-star treatment (and we know you do), you can also look for covered feeding ports, or underneath feeding stations, so they can take a rest and be protected from the falling snow and whipping wind.
- Shameless plug: For a great selection of premium winter bird feeders, perfect for your backyard during the cold months, visit our store here.
Covering Your Favorite Feeders
A simple step to make your already established feeders more winter friendly is to attach a large baffle to shelter your feed and feathered friends from the harsh elements, keeping snow and ice from gathering on your feed and giving those birds a place to rest. If you’re more of a DIY-er, you can fashion a makeshift baffle using common household items like an umbrella or other recycled materials. (Looking for that perfect baffle? Aren’t we all. Protect your favorite, established feeder by visiting our selection here). And when mulling over whether you should DIY or buy a backyard feeder, check out our blog detailing some easy projects you can do yourself, or quickly buy at home.
Finding Safe Spaces
Finding a nice space for your feeder can save you time and trouble in the future, while also helping out your backyard birds! Hanging your feeders from thick tree limbs, under rooftops, or under covered patios or gazebos will help to keep them covered from ice and snow, making them easier to refill and maintain. Also trying to find a spot close to your house has the added bonus of making your trek out in the cold much shorter whenever you have to refill your seed!
Battling Hungry Critters
Our feathered friends aren’t the only ones that are hungry during the winter time, which can spell trouble for you and your feeders if you are unprepared for the onslaught of ravenous rodents. Your feeder can be a beacon to nearby animals like squirrels, raccoons, and deer who are out looking for an easy meal. To keep these critters at bay, attempt to squirrel-proof your feeder with a baffle or attachment, or hang your seed out of the reach of ground feeders, so they don’t even have a chance to snack on your bird feed. For squirrel proof accessories and ideas, visit our extensive selection here.
Winter Storm Clean Up
Ensuring that your feeders are clear of snow and ice after winter storms is an incredibly important and easy way to keep your feed — and as a result the birds who feed on it — safe, dry, and delicious. Clearing snow and ice off of your feeder and out of the feeding ports will ensure that your backyard birds can feed safely from, and always return to, your feeder.
Winter Friendly Feed
Using feed that is more sustainable in the harsh winter conditions and refilling your feeder frequently, will help ensure your feed stays fresh, keeping your birdy buddies fueled up and healthy. Foods that are high in fat and less susceptible to spoilage, like black oil sunflower seeds, suet, or peanuts, are perfect additions to the diets of birds who need to stay warm and active during the cold months of winter.
Don’t Neglect Those Ground Feeders
Many of the birds that feed during the winter time, enjoy their meals on the ground rather than up in a tree or hanging feeder, like juncos and doves. In order to cater to these birds specifically, it can make a world of difference to pack down or shovel away the snow underneath your existing feeders, giving these ground feeders a place to feast in peace and comfort, without much extra work on your part.
By following these few tips you can make sure that your winter feeders are ready to take on the cold months, and make a warm, safe, and inviting place for your feathered friends to perch and enjoy a nice, nutritious meal before they head back out into the unforgiving cold.
Stay warm bird friends!