Updated at: 14-08-2022 - By: Jane Brody

When it snows, any bird seed or food you leave out for the birds might easily be buried under an inch or more, leaving the birds hungry.

To keep bird feeders from getting covered in snow during the depths of winter, place them under a large overhang. To prevent squirrels from eating the seed in your bird feeders, you can place a baffle under the feeder. Keep birds content by giving them fresh food every day and clearing snow from their feeders.

What To Feed Birds When It Snows-2

If you can continue to feed birds in a bird feeder in the rain, there’s no reason you can’t continue your regular activities, even in a heavy snowstorm.

Using bird feeders is the most effective way to provide food for birds in areas where snowfall is frequent and deep, and even though snow may accumulate on top of feeders, it usually falls off and onto the ground below.

It’s a good start, but snow can still bury bird food in feeders or prevent access to port wells.

Because of its extra-wide disc form, this cone protects any size bird feeder, even those designed for hummingbirds, when hung well below a squirrel baffle, making them snow-proof.

Of course, bird feeders are only for birds that can use them, so it’s also important to provide food for ground-dwelling birds.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker won’t have any trouble cracking open this peanut feeder, even when the current snow blizzard is forcing fresh snow up against it.

Toss bird seed on the ground as you normally would, but don’t worry if a snowfall comes along and buries some of it.

You need only toss additional bird food onto the ground at a later time, and again every few hours if snow falls and covers food, to keep the birds fed.

The ground under a tree or between bushes can provide natural cover, which might be helpful.

Covered porches, the overhang of your house roof, or any section of the ground that gets less snow accumulation are all good places to put bird feeders.

Seeds, peanuts, dried mealworms, and fruits will make up the bulk of your winter bird feeding, which is comparable to what wild birds consume.

Utilize wide roof bird feeders

Covered bird feeders are used to protect the food from precipitation or snowfall, respectively, and this strategy is also applicable to feeding birds throughout the winter.

Covers are used on the majority of bird feeders to prevent birds from getting their food out of the plastic or wire mesh feeding device.

Because snow tends to accumulate on the roof, which isn’t really an issue, but rather because a heavy coating of snow can and probably will pile up on port wells or spots where birds eat out of, snow can still be an issue with bird feeders.

As a consequence, bird feeders will be buried in a blanket of snow, making the food inaccessible to the birds.

Even though smart birds will try to dig down into the snow to get to the feeder, they typically fail to do so because they can’t locate the tiny port hole or gap.

To improve upon this, use bird feeders that not only have a roof [see featured image] but also have a roof that extends down to cover any perches or trays attached to the base of the feeder.

The answer to the question of “how to keep bird seed dry in a bird feeder” is to utilize a bird feeder with a large overhang and a series of small, hidden seed trays.

Feeder under up Squirrel Baffle

What To Feed Birds When It Snows

You may keep squirrels from getting to the food in your bird feeder by installing a squirrel baffle, which is a disc or cone-shaped flexible plastic sheet that is attached to the top of your feeder pole.

If you want to keep your bird seed free of snow, you can install a squirrel baffle to prevent squirrels from reaching it while it hangs from your hanging bird feeders.

If you have a squirrel problem and use a baffle to keep them out of your attic, you can put it to good use here by preventing snow from falling on your hanging bird feeders.

What to do then is hang the designed to hang squirrel baffle off a bird feeder pole bracket or limb – or wherever you wish to install bird feeders within your yard. A bird feeder can be hung far enough from the ground below to prevent it from falling.

Shortening the chain or hanger will keep the bird feeder off the ground and the feeder itself will be lifted higher, further within the squirrel baffle cover.

What is going to happen now is snow can continue to stack up on top of the squirrel baffle, meanwhile your bird feeder remains snow-free.

Keep in mind that this method only works for one bird feeder per squirrel baffle, so you’ll need to buy extra baffles if you want to use this method to prevent snow from accumulating on many feeders.

Hide feed under tree or in hedges

Is there any kind of cover in your yard that you may possibly utilize to hang or place your bird feeders in the yard?

The same logic applies to providing food for birds by merely tossing it on the ground or setting up a platform for them somewhere out of the way, rather than using actual bird feeders.

I recommend attempting to conceal bird feeders in any existing garden cover, such as a tree or some very thick winter shrubbery.

It’s true that trees are essentially skeletons this time of year, but even a thickly branched one can keep the snow away.

Placing a platform feeder near the tree trunk or in an area with dense above branches will attract the most birds. Hang bird feeders in a densely forested section of the tree, but keep in mind that a thick branch can also serve as cover.

Feeding birds in the winter is easy; simply sprinkle seed mixtures, peanuts, or dried mealworms onto a snow-free area beneath the tree, or pop a mixture of bird food into and around the tree limbs.

However, the disadvantage of keeping bird food in feeders or the open is that it will not be exposed to any sunlight.

In case you hadn’t noticed previously, snow tends to melt quickest in the sun, whereas regions that stay in the shade during the day tend to remain covered in snow or ice until the evening.

Replace snow covered feed daily

What To Feed Birds When It Snows-3

If you want to feed wild birds in the snow, as well as in the rain, you’ll need to keep changing the bird food that has been covered by snow.

Taking the time to remove snow by hand may be inconvenient, but it is the only way to ensure that birds may eat from feeders or the ground when the snow has made the food unpalatable or spoiled.

Keep that in mind, because while certain bird species have no trouble biting through hard bird food like seed or nut shells, others do.

Obviously, this is because bird food can freeze if it is covered behind a thick layer of snow.

Keeping seeds or nut mixtures visible on top of snow is essential for ground-feeding birds like blue jays and northern cardinals.

Eventually, snow will cover the bird feeders, so you’ll need to be proactive about replacing them rather than just digging out the old food for the birds.

Even while bird food stored in feeders can survive longer, feeders still need to be easily available in the winter to draw birds.

Continue to wipe off snow

If you’re going to be feeding birds on the ground, you should make it a higher priority to replace any food that becomes buried under snow.

To some extent, snow is less of a problem with bird feeders, thus the birds’ food is safer there.

When snow accumulates on bird feeders, it blocks off any openings for birds to eat. This means you’ll need to brave the cold and head out into the yard to clear the feeders before the birds return.

Focusing on these things first thing in the morning is essential, and you should keep up this practice all the way through the day until bedtime. Shaking or carefully wiping away snow that would gradually pile up is the plan so that birds can continue to get to their food.

To be honest, if the place where the bird feeder is hung is particularly vulnerable to added weight, then I would wait until the snow had accumulated to a significant height before removing it.

This is because, like an Igloo, snow can insulate and protect whatever is buried beneath it.

In spite of the possibility of freezing, snow can and will shield bird food from spoilage, as the cold temperature will keep the mixture of bird food fresh for a longer period of time.


Winter bird food choices are high in protein to help birds maintain their strength when foraging in the snow, where they expend more energy than usual.

While all bird feeders are covered, I am referring to a roof with a large overhang that can be used to shield the feeding ports and perches below.

That’s not to say snow or rain won’t accumulate here eventually, but it’s a nice start.

Using a squirrel baffle, which is intended to be hung under a bird feeder, on top of a roof bird feeder turns it into a highly efficient snow cover, while still serving its intended purpose of keeping rain off or discouraging squirrels.

Of course, you should also provide ground food for the birds, or you risk losing some of your visits. Then, scatter bird seed across the grassy area of your yard that is shielded by trees and bushes.

You can use shrubs or a hedgerow instead of a tree, but a tree is always preferable.

Throw bird seed over an area of the ground that is clear of snow, or strategically distribute seed amid the branches of trees that are also free of snow.

If you want to avoid wasting bird food, you should make sure that the birds in the area often visit the tree you plan to use.

To maintain bird food accessible within bird feeders, you should just shake or wipe off snow a few times per day, or once per day, to replace the food.

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