By now, everyone knows that when you set the clock back from daylight saving time, it’s also the time to change the batteries in smoke alarms and smoke detectors. Like a shrill little bird, my own detector began a shrill peeping just days before the time change, so it couldn’t be ignored and the deed was done.

If only the live birds outside at the feeders, much more restrained in their chirps and calls than the electronic detectors, were as demanding of our attention, so we’d remember to get them ready for the lean season ahead. This is the time to clean and repair all bird feeders, checking for broken perches, clogged feeding ports and other problems. Even the sturdiest feeders can have damp corners where feed accumulates and gets moldy. If you’re the type who likes to potter around in slippers for a bit on a chilly morning, consider moving feeders closer to a patio or door so they will be easier to refill even in the deep snow or inclement weather. Add covers to feeders to keep seed dry and prevent snow and ice from accumulating on them.

In addition to the feeders you already have in place, think of all the other sources of feed that could be available for avian consumption. If you still have plants standing in the garden, even if dead flowers offend your esthetic sensibilities, leave them standing. As the weather grows colder, you’ll see nuthatches and chickadees cleaning the branches of insect and spider eggs, or cardinals and goldfinches perching on stems and eating seeds from the plants. Rudbeckia, sunflowers, asters, and other plants that hang onto their seeds through the fall are particularly good for goldfinches and siskins. Native plants that drop their seeds are also valuable to birds that search the ground for this food source. Something tasty can even be found in weeds, such as the much-loathed burdocks that are the bane of our gardening lives. Apparently, hungry birds are adept at finding tiny seeds that are invisible to us.

Recent storms like Harvey and Irma have resulted in big shake-up in the natural landscape. These increasingly intense storms impact the habitat that migrating birds have to adjust to over time, but homeowners and gardeners can help by landscaping with migrants in mind. Scientists studying the effects of storms on migrating birds know from radar observations that when native foliage is flooded or destroyed, birds resort to using urban areas in parks, residential green spaces and gardens along the coast. We can contribute to the birds’ journey by using native plants in gardens and landscape, ones that produce fruits in the autumn or ones with flowers that attract a lot of insects in the spring.

Since new types of birds may be coming to our backyards in the future, with ones that previously never visited feeders becoming regulars and new species joining them, you’ll need to provide more than the traditional seed diet. Orioles, tanagers, thrushes, thrashers, wrens, Cedar Waxwings, vireos, and wood warblers of several species are soft-food eaters and crave suet and peanut butter or other fat-based products, as well as fresh and dried fruit. A feeding station stocked with a variety of foods and feeder types draws more kinds of birds than just sunflower, millet, and suet. So now is the time to stock up on a variety of foods, such as suet, birdseed of various kinds, nuts and specialty mixes containing fruit or nuts. Make sure you have a variety of feeder styles, including trays, hoppers, tubes, suet cages, and log feeders. Invest in a heater for your birdbath or a heated bath model for winter, because water is a big draw all year ’round. Make sure you’re well stocked up if a storm is predicted, because storms may bring some of the most exciting bird feeder sightings, and all kinds of birds that may not usually visit your feeder may show up. With an untimely, early-fall or late-spring snow or ice storm, events that become increasingly possible with warming climate, you may see neotropical migrants that got caught in it, such as tanagers, orioles, vireos and others. Even if you don’t get some exotic visitors, feeding areas that draw a crowd will attract more customers. The presence of many hungry regulars is like an advertisement for your feeder to any hungry bird that may be flying over.