Now that we are experiencing some snow in our area there a few simple things you can do to help make birds lives a little easier. Make sure when you fill your feeders to clear all of the snow off of them. I like to use a small straw hand wisk. Clearing off the snow will keep the seed dry and fresh and will provide the birds with a clear area to land. Many birds including Mourning Doves will land on the top a feeder before descending to the feeding area, so be sure to clear the entire feeder off. Make sure that the seed in feeders is not frozen. Frozen seed can quickly clog a feeder and make it difficult for the birds to feed. During these colds days it is important that birds do not expend any unnecessary energy pecking away at frozen seed.
Clear snow from areas around your yard where birds like to roost before and after feeding. These may be the tops of fences, deck railings or other objects around your yard. By having a clear place to land birds will stay warmer and dry. Make sure that the snow under your feeders is either cleared away or packed down. I will walk in circles around the feeder so there is about a six foot radius underneath that is hard packed. This will allow ground feeding birds to feed and clean up seed underneath. This will not only attract more birds, but less seed will go to waste.
If you have roost boxes around your yard make sure the entrances are not blocked with snow and ice and to clean them out regularly. Bird droppings quickly accumulate and the boxes will be undesirable to birds if dirty. I also gently brush off my cedar and spruce trees of snow to provide better access to their interior branches for cover. Be extra careful not to break their branches if the snow is heavy or ice has accumulated on them.
Doing a few extra little things to help out the birds during winter weather will have them picking your yard over the others in your neighbourhood. You will be able to sit back with a warm beverage and enjoy all of the bird activity in your yard and at your feeders.