Though there are some very early signs of spring, February is still deep winter in the northern United States and a time for maximum use of the bird feeders by winter residents and northern visitors. In the south the sparrows and finches are still flocking to your feeders.
The feeding station should be used heavily, particularly as winter storms approach with more snow and ice. Feeders should be filled daily and in the north the snow and ice should be brushed off to allow the birds to reach the food. In the south natural food is becoming scarcer and your feeding station will become more popular.
In the north Evening Grosbeaks and crossbills could be coming to your feeders. Depending on your location, chickadees, titmice, goldfinches, cardinals, juncos, jays, woodpeckers and sparrows will appreciate your feeding efforts. Keep a good supply of sunflower and Nyjer seed available.
Suet is another necessary high energy food for the winter. Not only will the woodpeckers visit you but also wrens, thrashers, some sparrows and warblers in the south. If you stock your suet in large quantities you may want to use no-melt suet year round. This will save you a mess this summer.
Continue to look for signs of spring. The Great Horned Owls will start nesting at the end of the month and the goldfinches will continue to show brighter colors preparing for the nesting season. You may see trees start to bud. And don't forget to watch for bluebirds and Red-winged Blackbirds moving north.
Continue your plans for spring planting. Be sure to check for plants that not only offer cover, but also food. Remember to plan for the mature size of shrubs and trees. Plan to restack brush piles after the winter has compressed your piles. The brush piles can offer protection for the birds from cats and hawks.
It is time to check your nest boxes to see if they need repairs or replacing. Be sure to research proper placement of your nest boxes. You should also learn what size of box and what size of entrance hole you need to encourage the species you wish to attract. You may consider nest platforms for species like robins and phoebes. Start stocking up on nest balls or other nesting material.
The effort you put forth will be appreciated by the birds and it will result in more species visiting your yard. Remember to take the time to sit back and enjoy the backyard habitat you are creating maybe with a bird themed coffee cup.