Busy backyard bird feeder

Best Winter Bird Feeders

Winter is a great time of year to feed the birds. Besides the large variety of bird species that live in the Maritimes year-round, northern migrants are arriving to spend the season in our milder climates. There are also some bird species that are more easily seen in cooler temperatures than in any other season. Adding a variety of feeders with different seed will attract an abundance of bird species. Separate larger specie feeders from smaller ones to allow smaller birds a chance to feed without being scared off by larger varieties.

Considerations for Winter Bird Feeders

Feeder Style: Consider designs that have a larger capacity and protected reservoirs to keep bird seed dry. Feeders with covers and with feeding stations underneath are ideal for a variety of birds. This also provides shelter for birds to feed. Select metal mesh or tube feeders for Nyjer seed.

Feeder Location: Hang feeders in areas that are more sheltered from winter elements such as closer to tree trunks, under covered patios or roof eaves. This will make them easier to refill and keep birds protected while they feed.

Protect Feeders From Pests: Birds are not the only hungry wildlife this time of year. To ward off unwanted visitors, take steps to squirrel-proof feeders and surround the area with cages or fences. Take feeders in at night if all else fails. Avoid excessive ground-feeding that can attract smaller pests.

Top Winter Bird Feeders

Tube Feeder: If you are going to put out just one bird feeder, a tube feeder is the way to go. Tubes keep seed clean, dry, prevent bird droppings from getting in the seed and reduce squirrel foraging. Perches on tube feeders are usually smaller attracting smaller birds and discouraging larger ones.

Hopper Feeder: A hopper or house feeder dispense seed into a tray at the bottom of the hopper aided by gravity. These feeders keep seed clean, dry, and readily available even in snowstorms. If you’re looking for a hopper feeder made of wood, weather-resistant cedar is a good choice.

Platform Feeder with Cover: Platform feeders attract a variety of birds due to their easy access to seed. For winter, place platform feeders where there is some shelter from the elements or opt for one that has a roof structure.

Bird droppings and wet weather can cause seed to spoil more so than other feeders. It is important to keep feeders clean on a regular basis, daily if possible. Replace seed every few days or immediately after wet weather to avoid an unhealthy environment for your feathered friends. Only fill enough for a few days’ worth to ensure seed doesn’t spoil due to unpredictable winter conditions.

Ground Feeding Table: This screen-bottomed tray sits a few inches off the ground and is easy to clean and disinfect. Select designs that have covers to prevent snow from accumulating over the seed and ones that are surrounded by wire mesh to keep out squirrels and large birds.

Place the feeder in an open location, at least 10 feet from the nearest shrub, to give birds a chance to flee in the event of predators. Ground feeders are especially favored by doves, juncos, sparrows, towhees, goldfinches, and cardinals. Only fill enough for a few days’ worth to ensure seed doesn’t spoil due to unpredictable winter conditions.

Suet Feeder: Winter is the perfect time for hanging suet because the cooler temperatures keep suet from spoiling. Place suet blocks in cage feeders during winter to help prevent moisture build up. Place in trees that provide some shelter from poor weather.

Nyjer Feeder: These feeders, also known as “Thistle Feeders”, are specifically designed to dispense ‘thistle’ seed. They feature tiny holes making seed available only to small-beaked birds. Select metal mesh designs or tube feeders as these styles are better for winter use.

Bird Houses & Roost Boxes: Though not exactly bird feeders, bird houses and roost boxes provide a place for birds to escape poor weather conditions and keeps them close to their reliable food source.

Related Articles

Winter Backyard Bird Enthusiasts
Feeding Wild Birds in Winter
Best Winter Bird Seed
How To Properly Store Bird Seed
Keep Feeding Areas Clean and Maintained
Keep Backyard Birds Healthy in Winter

Feeds'n Needs Team