Should You Feed Wild Birds In The Fall? Absolutely!
Why It Is Vital To Wild Birds Survival To Feed Them In The Fall Season?
Hearty Cool Weather Food
Autumn bird feeding in your backyard is very important.
All wild birds whether they are joining the large scale movement of bird migration or facing colder northerly temperatures are preparing for change.
They do this by stocking up on body fat, to be used as energy.
They eat more at one sitting than they did all summer and visit feeders more often so they can achieve this end.
Some people think that bird feeding in the autumn is not a good idea.
They mistakenly believe that their feeders will keep the birds from
I can not tell you the number of times that I have been asked if people should take their feeders down in the fall months.
Some people are concerned that backyard birds will be lulled into a false sense of security and not leave to migrate south before the winter weather arrives. So they take their feeders down sometime in the fall to force them to leave.
Wild birds are compelled to leave whether it be the shortening daylight, cooling of temperatures, or the natural diminishing of food resources. Scientists are still not certain what changes make them sense it’s time to leave.
But leave they will regardless of our feeders being full.
When feeders are kept full and open for business this helps wild birds prepare for their long trek.
Think of it as filling their suitcase with all the necessary travel items, fat, energy, vitamins, full bellies!
But we are all sure of one thing and that is that the bird migration will take place on a large scale basis twice each year.
Bringing in feeders early during the fall season is a serious mistake. Autumn bird feeding is the time of year when wild birds are preparing for their long journey south.
They are trying to stock up on body fat. Wild birds will frequent feeders more often and remain longer at the feeders to accomplish this task.
For Helping Birds Survive
If they have become accustomed to your feeders all summer as a source of food, taking them down to force the birds to leave could cause them hardship. It may prevent them from building the necessary body fat they require for their long flight.
Birds develop a route during the summer of several feeding stations which they visit throughout the day.
In the fall the natural sources they have dined during the summer may have depleted. Their main source of sustenance may be your feeder. If it is removed before the wild birds have left, they may not have stored up sufficient body fat for a successful migration trip.
And, that could be disastrous! Will They Leave To Migrate?
The natural instinct is a very dominating factor in wildlife behavior.
There is no need to worry about preventing the birds from going south.
When they feel the urge and need to go, they will, regardless of what you do.
There is no reason to bring these feeders in during the fall to make the birds leave.
Best Bird Feeders for Autumn Bird Feeding
Set Your Wild Birds Dining Table With A Variety Of Feeders
Chalet Style Bird Feeders
Tube Style Bird Feeders
Suet Bird Feeders For Warmth & Energy
When Should You Curtail Autumn Bird Feeding?
However, some autumn bird feeding practices can be curtailed as the colder months draw closer.
For instance, if you are not going to continue feeding the birds through the winter because you are going away yourself.
In this case, gradually reducing the amount of seed in your feeders and leaving them empty for a few days before adding a little more seed, will give the birds an opportunity to find other food sources.
Leave all seed and suet feeders out until there have not been any birds at them for at least two weeks before taking them down.
You will find that even birds that remain in the north all winter will move around to different locations.
So likely you will notice a period of time that there are few birds at your feeders.
This also applies to syrup feeders for Hummingbirds and Orioles. They should be left out for at least two weeks after the birds have not been observed at the feeders. I always leave mine out until temperatures drop below freezing.
What Other Reasons Make It Important To Leave Bird Feeders Out?
First of all, it gives all the regulars time to stock up and get ready for their migration trip.
Secondly, many migrating birds will stop along the way to dine at bird feeders to “re-fuel the tank” so to speak.
Over time they will come to expect feeders to be available at certain locations along their annual migration route if they are a reliable source each year.
Birds from more northerly regions learn to use your “buffet table” during their autumn flight.
The same will occur in the spring when they are making their return trip to the northerly reaches.
They will make your bird feeders their usual lay-over if your feeders can be depended on.
Red-Breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings are two species that stop at our feeders every year in the spring and autumn. They don’t hang around our feeders during the summer.
In the in-between seasons, they provide a unique opportunity for our family to observe species feeding which we might otherwise never encounter. They will usually stay for two to four days and then be off to their summer or winter homes.
It is also very helpful to provide food with high energy fat content like suet and black oil sunflower seed. These particular bird foods will enable birds to build up their fat reserves easier, giving them energy and keeping them warm.
You can enjoy bird watching in your backyard all year!
More On Fall Bird Feeding
- Fall Bird Feeding Some people think that bird feeding in the autumn is not a good idea. They mistakenly believe that their feeders will keep the birds from migrating. Find out the truth.
- Should We Take Our Feeders Down in The Autumn? Our neighbors and friends mean well when they tell us to take our seed and nectar feeders down in the fall. But are they right?
- Bird Watching Guide September 7 Must Do’s that will lead backyard bird watchers to help wild birds prepare for fall.
- Bird Watching Guide October 7 Must Do’s to aid backyard birds for a successful migration or winter season.
- Bird Watching Guide November 7 Must Do’s that will help you get your wild birds ready for a healthy season.
The Other 3 Seasons
- Winter Bird Feeding Bird watching in the winter months provides many rewards for us. We
can’t help ourselves from wanting to assist them by putting out a bird feeder.