With autumn rolling in, so too will the birds migrate from the northern locations to the southern areas. For birdwatchers, this is the perfect opportunity to see birds that only stay a short time in your part of the country. You can improve your chances of seeing so many unique bird species by attracting them to your property.
Is it true that birds will not migrate if you feed them in the fall?
Simple answer – no. It is a misconception that birds that are fed in fall will decide not to migrate due to having a steady source of food already. There are many factors that make a bird migrate – daylight, climate and instinct are some of many reasons. Feeding birds in the fall is actually highly beneficial for the birds as a rich and nutritious snack can help build up fat reserves for their long journey ahead.
What kind of birds can I attract in the Fall?
Many regard spring and summer as the best seasons to bird watch. However, as autumn sets in it brings with it a flock of unique migratory birds. These birds will be tired from their travels and will seek shelter, perches and food. With leaves shedding off trees and much of the summer blooms beginning to die these commodities can become harder to find for birds. Birds are looking to build up their fat reserves for the winter migration, therefore turning your yard into bird a friendly pit-stop will attract birds from far and wide!
Attracting birds during the fall is also great as it gives you a chance to attract the first species of winter birds that will begin to appear. By providing food for these winter birds, it will ensure that they remember your location and come back to visit during the winter.
What types of plants do birds like in the Fall?
Berries! Berry producing plants are a great source of both food and shelter for birds during the fall. As conditions grow increasingly cold, food supplies often dwindle. Planting a wide variety of plants that produce berries over fall and winter is a great way to keep your yard full of healthy birds during these unforgiving seasons.
Holly is a genus of about 480 flowering plants that provide rich snacks for birds. Some of the best holly to bloom and survive the fall and winter are:
- Blue Prince & Princess
Crabapples, viburnum or any fruiting shrubs are amazing at attracting birds. They can’t resist these rich and tasty snacks during these particularly harsh season.
For more information take a look at this video!
How to attract birds during the Fall?
Perhaps the easiest way to attract passing birds is with a low elevation bird baths. You’ll want to have a clean birdbath that can be easily spotted from above. Plus, you’ll want to put it in a location that you can view from a window. One way to help ensure the birds see the bath is by adding a dripper that provides a few ripples. That way, the birds will know it’s water when they are flying overhead.
Running water is an effective way of attracting birds as they seek water out by its sound. To turn any bird bath into a running water fountain you can place a solar powered fountain pump that uses the energy of the sun to keep water flowing at all times.
2. Set Up a Feeder
If you have not set up a bird feeder, now is the time to do it. Place it near the birdbath so the birds can easily see it. A good, large capacity feeder will last for quite a while if properly protected from the elements and the occasional squirrel and raccoon. You’ll want to set up the feeder on a pole away from nearby trees and with a cone that keeps the pests from climbing to the feeder.
Some of the best feed to put in your feeder during fall are Nyjer, Nuts and black oil sunflower. Suet is a particularly good food to provide in the fall as it is high in fat. This will help build birds fat reserves before they embark on their long migration.
3. Clean Out the Birdhouses
If you have birdhouses, then clean them out in the late summer after the young have left the nest. Add a clean cup of dried grass to the birdhouse after you have given it a thorough cleaning. There are many birds who will take advantage of the nest, including woodpeckers, chickadees, and bluebirds that you can watch from your home.
4. Leave the Garden & Lawn Untouched
You’ll want to provide a natural food source for the birds if possible. So, if you have a garden, resist the urge to clean it up after growing season has stopped. Instead, let the birds feast on the old garden plants and seed heads in the tall grass. You may not have a tidy garden, but it will be one that has plenty of birds around finding food.
The same goes for your lawn. Mow it in the late summer and let the grass grow until it can form seeds. The seeds are natural food for many different species of birds, especially sparrows. If you are not comfortable leaving your entire lawn in that condition, then set aside a section in the backyard.
You can also scatter about some bird seeds on your lawn in the fall which will quickly get consumed by the many birds that will visit your property. Other hints include keeping the cat indoors during the daytime. And, be wary of your windows. Birds have a difficult time seeing glass, so put some protection up for your windows so the birds do not fly into them.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!