Experts disagree as to whether backyard feeding makes a significant difference for whole bird population, but for the individual birds in your own backyard, feeding certainly can help. Feed more often at times of peak energy demand, such as during temperature extremes, nesting season, migration, and in late winter or early spring, when natural seed sources are depleted.
Birds need water year-round for drinking and bathing. Set up at least one birdbath and place it away from the feeders to avoid contamination. Rinse daily and clean it once a week, using a 5-10 percent solution of chlorine bleach. A birdbath heater that has a built-in thermostat to warm up the water just enough to keep it from freezing can be used.