Should We Take Our Feeders Down In The Autumn

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    Down in the Autumn?

Asked by Barbara,  Michigan, USA

should-we-take-our-feeders-down-in-the-autumnPhoto Courtesy of Jeff Sanders

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!

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.

All your feeders whether they are seed or nectar feeders should be left up for your feathered friends.

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6 Reasons to Keep Your Feeders Up in the Fall:

To answer the question –

Should We Take Our Feeders Down in the Autumn?

  • 1. Birds Are 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 fall feeders more often and for longer periods of time. 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. 

The Instinct to Migrate is Very Strong in Wild Birds

  • 2. 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. Some birds may choose to pause their travels and wait out the storm. Others may be blown off their path and end up at your
    feeders and choose to stop and dine. They may even stay for a few days or longer until they have stocked up on energy supplied by your bird food.


should we take feeders down in fallShould We Take Our Feeders Down In The Fall?

  • 3. 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.

do-birds-need-feeders-in-fallMale Indigo Bunting Enjoys Feeding For The Long Journey South
  • 4. Winter Station: When you leave your feeders up all fall, it gives the birds who stay all winter an opportunity to find your feeders and know where a good source of food is when the freezing weather sets in.
  • 5. 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. Read more about what to do with nectar feeders in autumn.

Wild Birds Have A Strong Instinct To Migrate

fall bird feedingAutumn Bird Feeders
Will Not Keep Wild Birds from Migrating

A wild bird’s instinct to migrate is very strong. They will definitely leave when they feel the urge.

Usually, only the injured, sick, very young or old, stay behind.

wild birds only need to migrate because of lack of food in the winter
and they need to find more food because they require more energy to stay
warm through the cold night. 

Hoping you enjoy your feathered friends!


I hope this helps to answer your question “Should We Take Our Feeders Down in the Autumn?.

You can find more information by following the links below.

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.

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
  • Spring Bird Feeding  An exciting time when wild birds return to their northern breeding grounds after their long migration.
  • Summer Bird Feeding  A very rewarding season to feed and house wild birds. There is such a variety of bird life and feathered family activity to enjoy.

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