Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Feeding Wild Birds in the Fall

The autumn season is just around the corner but don’t take down your bird feeders just yet.  Wild birds tend to rely on bird feeders for their secondary and maybe even primary sources of nutrition.  Keeping bird feeders up through the autumn months is just as, if not more, important as any other season.

Bird watching is an ever-growing hobby in the United States; therefore, bird feeders are a popular topic when it comes to bird watching.  Some people question keeping their feeders out through the autumn months due to fear that wild birds will not migrate or just think birds will not use them as much.  However, there are many benefits to leaving your feeders out through the autumn months for both wild birds and you.  

One common misconception people may think about leaving their bird feeders out through the autumn season is that birds will not migrate.  This is called a ‘misconception’ for good reason.  Birds will eventually migrate when they are ready.  Leaving your feeders out is only helping prepare them for their long migration journey.  Taking your feeders down too early confuses them and may leave them struggling to store up enough body fat for their long journey.  This in turn will make for a hard migration.  Therefore, leave your feeders out at least for two weeks following the last sight of a bird at your bird feeders.

Wild birds develop a daily routine of visits to bird feeders and other natural sources of food and nutrition.  Most birds may rely on your feeders for a secondary or even primary source of food and nutrition.  At this time of year their natural sources of food may have somewhat or completely depleted.  To prepare them for migration, wild birds will stock up on body fat; therefore, you will see them more often at your bird feeders this time of year.  With that said alone, it is important to keep your feeders out through the autumn months.

Leaving your bird feeders out through the autumn months may attract other migrating birds and potentially invite new birds to your feeding area the following year.  Migration is a long and exhausting trip for wild birds.  For those birds passing through your backyard, they will appreciate the sources of food in your bird feeders through the migration season.  If your feeders are made available they will most likely make them their usual lay-over every migration season.  Not only does this benefit migrating birds but you will get an opportunity to maybe see new wildlife that you may have not seen before.  This is an exciting time for bird watchers.

It’s always important to keep your bird feeders clean just as you would during the summer months.  Some people think they will not be used as much so why clean them.  However, the cleaner your feeders are the more wild birds you will most likely attract during the migration season.  

So think twice about taking down your bird feeders early.  Remember that rather than a disservice, wild bird feeding in the autumn season provides opportunities for bird wildlife during the migration season.  Bird feeders are a vital food source in the autumn months for those birds who have been accustomed to using the bird feeders you provide as well as migrating birds.  If you do decide to take them down during the autumn season try waiting at least two weeks after your last bird visitor.  Leaving your feeders out also extends your bird watching pleasure.


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