If you live in an area that goes through all four seasons, there are things you can do specific to each season to help your backyard wildlife have an easier time getting through the season. They can do it on their own, without you making adjustments to their bird seed, shelter, and water but if your goal is to keep them coming to your yard and give you something to enjoy looking at then consider the suggestions below.
Birds are often not able to get to the insects they might normally enjoy eating during warmer weather, so it is important to provide them with a wide variety of seed to choose from during the winter.
Suet cakes will be one of the most helpful things you can feed during the winter. These high fat cakes with seed embedded in them provide a lot of energy and fat to help keep birds warm during those cold months. Suet hangers are readily available, and some bird feeders have a cage for suet included, sometimes attached to the side. Safflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer (niger) seed, and white millet are all great seed to feed. Be sure the appropriate type of feeder is available for each, and that you hang your feeders at different heights and in different locations in your yard.
One of the most important things you can do for your outdoor birds in winter is to provide them with a source of non frozen water. This can best be accomplished with a bird bath and a bird bath de-icer. The de-icer plugs in to a power source, and keeps the water in the bird bath from freezing solid.
Spring cleaning applies to your bird feeders and houses, not just your own house. Early spring before you start seeing birds around in your yard exhibiting their nesting and mating behaviors is the time to clean your bird feeders with warm, soapy water, a soft brush, and rinse them well to clean up the dirt and debris of fall and winter. Leave some of the leaves of fall and small broken twigs from winter around in your yard if possible, to give the birds something for their nest building. Having building materials nearby their source of food will make them more likely for them to build their nests in your yard. In spring the bugs will become more active and feeding can be cut back a little bit, as the birds are able to find their own live sources of food more easily.
Your bird bath heater is likely not needed anymore at this time, and it can be removed from the bath and cleaned up with soapy water and a soft brush. It can be stored away someplace safe until next winter when it will be needed again.
In the summer birds can fend for themselves very well for survival, but feeding them in the summer can provide a lot of really interesting things to watch in your yard. You will see parent birds bringing their babies out to be fed, as well as many birds being at their brightest mating colors. Those sights can be a great photo opportunity.
Different sorts of feeders and food can be offered in the summer to give some variety to your wildlife. Mealworms can be fed, fruit, and hummingbird feeders can go out to attract the nectar feeding birds if they are known to inhabit your area. Your bird bath will be very important to the birds for drinking and bathing to cool down in the heat of the summer. It is important not to neglect keeping water in the bird bath if you have a dry spell where it does not rain for a while.
If you want birds to visit you during the winter, you will need to start showing them that your house is the place to visit beginning with the autumn season. During this season, birds will be out starting to pack on some extra weight and they will be looking for where the best bird buffets. Once they realize your house has a great variety of food available, they will be back when the snow falls. Cracked corn, thistle, nyjer seed (niger), black oil sunflower seed, safflower seed and nuts are all great things to help them prepare for colder weather.