Birds rely on backyard feeders as a vital food source, especially during harsh weather. But rain, snow and ice can quickly render basic feeders useless, spilling or waterlogging the contents. Investing in weatherproof bird feeders allows you to provide life-sustaining nutrition through storms.
How Bad Weather Impacts Bird Feeders
Bird feeders are designed for fair weather use. But they face challenges in heavy rain, snow, and ice: When regular feeders can’t withstand foul weather, weatherproof bird feeders become essential.
Precipitation causes birdseed to become wet and moldy. It can also erode or decompose wooden and plastic feeders over time. Weatherproof bird feeders are designed to prevent these issues caused by exposure to rain and snow.
Low temperatures cause water and condensation inside feeders to freeze. Ice prevents access to food. Weatherproof bird feeders are insulated or built with heaters to avoid problems with freezing.
The accumulated weight of snow, ice, and soaked seed can damage feeder tubes, platforms, hooks, and poles. Weatherproof bird feeders are constructed of durable materials that can withstand the heavy weight of snow and ice buildup.
Replenishing feeders requires going outdoors in unpleasant conditions. Frequent winter refilling and replacing ruined feeders becomes labor intensive and expensive. Weatherproof bird feeders only need occasional refilling and stand up to harsh elements without needing constant replacement.
Benefits of Weatherproof Bird Feeders
Investing in weather resistant models provides multiple advantages:
- Birds have consistent access to energy-rich food through storms
- Seeds stay dry, fresh and mold-free
- Feeders don’t need emptied after wet weather
- Durable materials prevent damage from snow weight and ice
- Saving time and money on replacing ruined feeders
- Enjoy watching birds through window in comfort
With quality weatherproof feeders, you can provide essential nutritional support to birds and enjoy watching them whatever the weather brings.
Features to Look for in Weatherproof Feeders
Specialized materials and design features allow some feeders to withstand the elements: Weatherproof bird feeders are constructed with these specialized traits.
Metal construction prevents deterioration from moisture. Avoid wood, which can warp and rot.
Tight-fitting lids, doors and seed ports prevent water seepage into storage chambers.
Holes in the base allow drainage so water doesn’t pool at the bottom.
Keep squirrels from chewing through to get dry seed in wet weather.
A sturdy hanger prevents the feeder falling under the weight of snow and ice accumulation. Weatherproof bird feeders come with durable hanging hardware designed not to bend or snap under heavy winter precipitation.
Best Weatherproof Feeder Types
These common feeder styles available in weatherproof versions handle harsh weather well:
Tube feeders constructed of aluminum or steel with watertight base and ports stay filled with dry seed even in driving rain or snow. Perches give birds a place to wait out storms.
Hopper feeders made of metal or plastic with rubber gaskets around the lid and seed ports keep contents safe from moisture. The large capacity requires less refilling.
Covered window-mounted feeders allow closeup viewing from indoors without exposing food to the elements.
Plastic or metal mesh platform feeders with rain covers and drain holes keep seed from getting soaked and rotting.
DIY Hacks for Weatherizing Feeders
If buying new weatherproof feeders isn’t in your budget, here are some simple DIY approaches to protect feeders:
- Add a plastic bin lid roof overhanging to deflect precipitation
- Seal openings with clear caulk, silicone sealant or rubber grommets
- Wrap wire mesh around the feeder openings to block wind-driven rain
- Add good drainage holes in the bottom to prevent water pooling
- Check and refresh sealants before winter
With some creativity, you can extend the life of standard feeders. But manufactured weatherproof models are worth the investment for less hassle.
Positioning Tips for Weatherproof Feeders
Proper placement is also key to keep birds and seed dry:
- Mount under eaves or cover to provide overhead shelter
- Avoid exposed locations battered by wind and precipitation
- Place multiple smaller covered feeders around your property
- Set up very close to windows for easy viewing
- Angle drainage holes downward to let water run off
Think about prevailing winds and runoff patterns when siting weatherproof feeders.
Frequently Asked Questions About Weatherproof Bird Feeders
Are plastic or metal feeders better for winter?
Metal feeders are more durable and chew-proof. However, thick, UV-resistant plastic works too if properly sealed.
Should I take down feeders in winter?
With weatherproof feeders, you don’t need to take them down. Properly constructed metal or plastic feeders can be left up year round.
Where should I place winter bird feeders?
Try to place winter feeders under cover and out of the wind for maximum protection from precipitation and drifting snow.
What’s the best weatherproof bird feeder?
Look for metal construction, tight rubber seals, drainage holes, sturdy hardware, and squirrel deterrents. Tube, hopper, and covered window feeders tend to work well.
How do I keep my bird feeder from freezing?
Prevent ice buildup by look for models with insulation, heating elements, or double-layered walls. Waterproofing prevents moisture exposure.
Can you leave bird feeders out in the snow?
Yes, weatherproof feeders designed for winter can be left out continuously, even buried in snow. The seeds will remain protected and accessible.
Extreme weather can make feeding birds a challenge. But specialized weatherproof bird feeder designs allow you to provide vital supplemental nutrition through rain, snow, and ice storms. Seek out durable, water-tight construction and strategic placement to weather the winter feeding birds. With the right feeders, you can enjoy observing backyard birds through the comfort of a window as the weather rages on outside.