The winter months here in the great white north can prove to be challenging for birds, animals, and even us humans. When Mother Nature lets the slow fly and lowers the temperatures in the negative double digits, regular maintenance is the key to keeping your backyard birds fed and their energy levels high.
This time of year birds will use a process known as torpor that allows them to conserve energy in the night hours. Torbor is a state of reduced metabolism requiring fewer calories to maintain proper heat. Obviously, by taking part in such a strenuous activity, our birds need all the nutrition and calories they can get.
As winter rambles on, your feeders become very susceptible to damage from high, frigid winds and large amounts of snow and ice. What can happen is perches become damaged, feeding ports freeze and become clogged and if left out too long, your seed can spoil.
For many folks, some preparation can easily avoid some of the harsher weather and spare your feeders some of the possible damage. Repositioning or relocating feeders is an option, but usually as a preventative method. Obviously driving a new pole into the ground might not be an option during the January freeze, but can easily be done in October or November before temperatures tumble. If you are going to relocate for winter, most opt for covered locations like near or under thick tree limbs, covered patios, gazebos or under a portion of your homes roof overhang. Positioning it closer to your home also allows for shorter travel time to fill up those feeders in terrible weather.
Other than that, routine maintenance, even in the worst of weather is your best bet. Just as you would shovel your walkway, make it a routine to clear any snow off of your feeders and frequently top up the birdseed. Make sure to shovel or clear out a small area underneath your feeder if you have any ground-feeding birds like doves and juncos.
In the event of a frozen feeder, you are far better to bring it indoors for a short period of time to allow it to defrost. When it is thawed out, be sure to give it a good cleaning, let it completed dry out and re-fill it for your hungry winter birds.
Bundle up out there, and have fun!