Should You Take Your Feeders
Down Before Winter Arrives?

Asked by Barbara

From Michigan USA

Should we take our feeders down in the Autumn? We are afraid that if we leave them out then the birds won't fly south. Is this true?

I would hate to be responsible for making some of them late and then they can't go. Please let me know what you think.

Hello Barbara,

Thank you for submitting your question!

Ruby Sky Cafe

Ruby Sky Cafe

(You will find links to more info related to this topic in the right column or bottom of page.)

Your question is often asked by people who feed birds in their backyard. Should we take our feeders down in the fall?

The answer is, no.

List Of Reasons To Keep Your Feeders Up In The Fall:

  • Preparing By Stocking Up: All wild birds who are preparing to migrate will be stocking up on food to get ready for their long trip. It is often observed by people who feed wild birds that birds are at their feeders more often and for longer periods of time before they leave in the autumn. They need to do this to stock up on food, which is their energy source, for their long flight. A food source such as a feeder, that is all of a sudden missing one day, could cause the birds a great deal of stress and hardship. 

  • Strays: Autumn and spring can bring turbulent weather with the change of season. This can sometimes make it difficult for wild birds to keep on their migration path. They may pass by your feeders and choose to stop and dine. They may even stay for a few days or longer until they become oriented.

  • Migrating birds also stop at regular feeding stations along their migration path both in autumn and spring, if of course the source is dependable. You don’t want to miss out on this exciting event. This is our experience. We have had a male Indigo Bunting stop by our feeders every spring and fall for the last three years. He will stay for two or three days and then be off. It is very exciting to see this beautiful bird for his bi-annual visit.


  • Build Trust: We leave our feeders out all year. This builds trust with the wild birds and we have a virtual bird highway in our back yard as a result. Hummingbird feeders are the only feeders we take down in the fall 2 to 3 weeks after none have been sited.

The wild bird’s instinct to migrate is very strong. They will definitely leave when they feel the urge. Usually, only the injured, sick or very young or old stay behind. Most wild birds only need to migrate because of lack of food in the winter. They know where to go to stay warm.

Hoping you enjoy your feathered friends!


I hope this helps to answer your question. You can find more information by following the links below.

Top of Should We Take Our Feeders Down in the Autumn

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