To protect feeders from bird-hunting cats, or squirrels, hang up feeders away from trees and easily climbable structures, as high off the ground as possible.
If cats and squirrels aren’t a problem, hang feeders near evergreen trees or shrubs so the birds can have winter cover while they feed.
Repair or throw out damaged bird feeders and get new ones.
Clean old feeders with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Scrub with a brush, rinse thoroughly, and allow to air dry.
Take special care now, and throughout the winter, to keep feeders clean of moldy seeds; they can make birds sick.
Hang up suet blocks in wire mesh containers for woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds (they need the extra fat).
Birds need water in winter as much as, or more than, they need food. Consider purchasing a heated birdbath. Be sure to use a grounded, three-pronged outlet. Because not all heated birdbaths are alike, be sure that the birdbath is equipped with the following features:
- a covered heating element to protect the birds’ feet from in jury;
- an automatic shut-off valve or heat cycling on-off switch, to prevent damage to the birdbath if it goes dry.
For extra bird pampering, find a flat piece of rock ― shale or slate ― and place it over the heating element. That’ll give the birds a warm rock to perch on while they rest or drink.