You can help wild birds thrive through winter! Chilly weather means that food, water, and shelter become harder to find, while shorter days leave less time for birds to feed and replenish energy reserves for long, cold nights. The bugs that birds eat are scarce, while snow can cover up remaining food sources.
We’ve assembled 6 tips to make your backyard bird feeding station into a winter birding destination. With a few simple steps, birds will be chirping in appreciation!
1. Position feeders with bird comfort in mind
We all love watching the birds, but wild birds don’t want to be seen by predators. Winter winds can spook the birds, and a feeder in the middle of the yard can make them feel exposed and vulnerable. The leaves have fallen, and it can be difficult for birds to find shelter and safety. Be sure to secure or re-position your feeders in a more sheltered location, perhaps closer to your home or nearer to trees or bushes. Birds will then be able to feed safely away from wild winds and possible danger.
2. Install a cover to keep birds and feeders dry
Adding a domed cover over a tube feeder will keep snow out of the seed and give birds a dry place to feed, no matter the winter weather. A weather guard will reliably protect birds and seeds from the elements. An added bonus of a guard is that it can also be an effective squirrel guard that blocks squirrels from accessing the feeder from the top and reaching the food, so you’ll maximize your seed mileage and leave more for hungry birds!
3. Keep birds feeding despite the snow
When storms strike, snow can build up on feeders, blocking birds’ access to the seeds within. Perching space that prevents snow accumulation is the name of the game in winter birding. Consider adding an open perch ring to the base of feeders in place of summer seed trays. The open design of products like the Tidy Perch & Bird Feeder Stand will keep perching space clear of snow so birds can keep snacking in a storm! An added feature of the tidy perch is that it doubles as a bird feeder stand that stabilizes a feeder when refilling it with seed.
4. Secure feeders against winter winds
Secure bird feeders won’t be blown over by howling winter winds or knocked down by heavy, wet snow accumulation. A long chain with a snap-lock hook will make sure a feeder stays dependably in place so wind and jumping squirrels can’t knock it down. Consider investing in a durable pole with a wide hook that will provide a durable and sturdy place to hang a feeder securely above the snow where birds can feed anytime. Look for a pole system that has a secure locking mechanism that prevents the feeder from being blown off the pole even in windy winter storms.
5. Minimize refilling (and cold treks outside) with large capacity feeders
Large capacity feeders provide birds with plenty of seed to last during cold winter storms. Plus, you won’t have to worry about going out in the snow to make sure the birds are fed! In winter, bigger really is better! Save time, stay warm, and keep the birds’ buffet stocked during stormy weather!
6. Install a cozy roost box to keep birds safe and warm
Roost boxes are specially designed to trap in more heat so birds don’t have to work as hard to stay warm, while also providing birds a place to perch away from predatory threats. Unlike bird houses and nest boxes, these roost boxes are meant to pack in a crowd, and as many as a dozen birds can use a single roost box for shelter from the elements and ever-present danger. The more the merrier when staying safe and warm!
Simple steps make a world of difference: These simple steps will make a world of difference for the birds who stick around for the cold. Backyard birds will be safe, well fed, and ready for winter weather. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done your part in helping them survive.
Original article written for Droll Yankees can be found here