As October comes to a close, there are a few things you need to make sure to do to get your feeders ready for winter. Winter time is when your birds depend on you to provide them with clean and safe feeding stations, wholesome quality food and an ample supply of water. It’s also the time that unsanitary conditions threaten to make birds sick because of the increased traffic at your feeders.
Here is my top ten list of things you can do to make this winter better for you and your backyard visitors.
- Take down and clean any tube feeders-All that seed dust and dirt needs to be cleaned out before it makes one of your visitors sick. Make sure to use a 1% bleach solution and a tube feeder brush .
- Clean and remount any window feeders-Now is a good time to make sure these are clean and securely fastened before it gets too cold to use lukewarm water on the suction pads.
- Rake and remove seed hulls at all feed stations-I know you’ve been keeping on top of this all summer : ) but now is the time to make sure to remove all waste BEFORE it gets soggy and frozen. When it does, some birds are tempted to peck at the filthy frozen waste to find food.
- Clean out your birdbaths-Use the same bleach mixture and a nylon brush.
- Set up birdbath heaters-Check any extension cords for cracks and breaks and replace if necessary. Run your cords and install birdbath heater. Alternatively, you could swap out your regular birdbath with a heated one.
- Change out your suet cake-If it’s been up more than 3 months or is a hot weather recipe, you’ll want to change it with a newer higher fat content suet cake. Cakes that are designed for hotter weather aren’t as fatty as regular cakes. Birds need more fat when it’s colder. More fat is more calories to keep them warm. Any cake that’s lasted the summer is sure NOT to be fresh and should be replaced.
- Consider moving your feeders-Now would be an excellent time to move your feeders so that the old feeder area has some time to recover before the new growth starts in spring. I purposely put this after raking and cleaning so you would be sure to do it.
- Put up birdhouses for roosting-I know it seems like just a little while ago you took your houses down when the last birds fledged. During the winter many birds, like woodpeckers, will use a bluebird house to roost during the long cold nights. Plus, it gives you a chance to have somebody looking at you every morning in your back yard. My downy woodpeckers make regular use of mine. The birds also appreciate any nesting material you can put in there to help keep them warm.
- Get a platform feeder for your patio-There is no greater pleasure than having a platform feeder on your patio where you can sit in your house watch the busy feeding up close.
- Check your seeds-If your seeds have been stored anywhere where they were exposed to heat over 100 degrees you should replace them and store the new seed where it stays cool and dry.
Do you have some suggestions I may have missed? I’d love to hear them. Just leave me a comment below and share them with all of our readers.