Fall is a great time to feed the birds! Provide birds with food and water, and you’ll attract a wide variety of birds to your backyard.
Fall Bird Feeding Myths: Some people mistakenly believe that feeding birds in the fall will prevent them from migrating south. This is simply not true. A reliable food source, such as your backyard feeder, is only a minor factor in the migratory pattern of birds. In actuality, feeding birds in the fall will actually help them migrate as you are providing birds with the energy to travel thousands of miles.
Offer Fuel: Use feeders with a large capacity or use multiple feeders to provide ample food. Feeders that deter squirrels, such as the Droll Yankee Flipper Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder, are particularly helpful. Holly Dentico, English Gardens Birding Merchandise Manager, suggests the Birdscapes Squirrel Be Gone Feeder as well as the Woodlink Audubon Squirrel Proof Caged Tube Feeder.
Seeds & Suet 101: Most birds that stay in Michigan during the winter eat seeds, as insects become increasingly difficult to find. Offer a variety of seeds in multiple feeders to attract a wide range of birds:
- Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: Cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, goldfinches, chickadees and titmice love sunflower seeds. Place sunflower seeds in hanging feeders to deter squirrels and raccoons.
- Nyjer (Thistle) Seed: Nyjer is coveted by Goldfinches for its high fat and protein content. Use feeders that resemble long-hanging tubes, such as Droll Yankee Bird Lovers Finch Tube Feeder. Eventually, goldfinches will become tame and might let you inch closer to them.
- Safflower Seed: Safflower is a white seed that is smaller than sunflower seeds. Chickadees, titmice, and downy woodpeckers love safflower! Plus, squirrels don’t like it.
- Suet: Birds love suet! It’s solid fat rendered from beef and venison, which gives birds the concentrated energy they need in the winter. English Gardens offers a variety of Friends of Flight Suet Cakes, such as High Energy, Peanut, Berry, Orange, and Woodpecker. Place suet cakes in a beautiful feeder from Whitehall, now at your local English Gardens.
Be Consistent: As birds become accustomed to you offering food, they continuously return to your feeders. If you plan on leaving for an extended period of time, ask your neighbor to keep your feeders full.
Winter is Coming: As winter draws closer, consistently offering food to birds is increasingly important. During the winter, stamp down snow around feeders to help ground-feeding birds, such as Sparrows. Offering water will attract more birds to your yard, particularly when ponds are frozen.
Follow these few tips and you’ll continue to attract birds to your yard throughout the year.