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Bird Migration and Bird Feeders – Do they go together?

A guide to backyard bird feeding in autumn

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Bird feeders benefit birds and also provide enjoyment to people all year round. But is autumn bird feeding going to disrupt bird migration? Thankfully, a stable food supply is just a minor factor influencing bird migration. Elements like daylight duration, climate conditions, and inherent instincts play a more significantly role in seasonal migration patterns.

Why autumn is a great time to feed birds Migrating birds need a substantial caloric intake to amass the energy essential for covering extensive distances of hundreds or thousands of miles. By following appropriate feeding guidelines during this season, you can create an inviting backyard spread that appeals to both local avian residents and those on migratory journeys.

Reasons to Feed during the fall season

As autumn unfolds with its dynamic changes, it presents a uniquely rewarding opportunity to support avian life. Beyond aiding migrating birds in finding sustenance, maintaining well-stocked feeders has additional benefits to:

  • Assist wintering birds in accumulating vital fat reserves, crucial for enduring dropping temperatures.

  • Provide passing migratory birds with the means to replenish their waning energy levels.

  • Offer birds a dependable food source as natural provisions dwindle amid colder climatic conditions.

Furthermore, a fully supplied bird feeder can entice the arrival of initial winter bird species, fostering their prolonged presence throughout the season. This establishes a connection in the birds' memory to a reliable food outlet, ensuring their return to the same spot come springtime. By embracing autumn bird feeding, you not only contribute to the expansion of your backyard's visitors but also diversify the range of species that grace your outdoor space.

Optimal Autumn Bird Food

For migrating birds embarking on their extensive journeys, it's crucial to offer a diet rich in high oil content and ample calories. This ensures they receive the nourishment and energy required for their arduous travels. Simultaneously, introducing an array of diverse food options guarantees that all passing migrants discover a delectable treat at the feeding stations. The most beneficial fall bird foods encompass:

  • Nuts

  • Suet

  • Nyjer

  • Black oil sunflower seed

  • Cracked corn

  • Nectar

Vigilance is essential as bird enthusiasts monitor their autumn flocks, adjusting food provisions as needed to meet the birds' requirements. During early fall, migrating hummingbirds might swarm nectar feeders, but as the season progresses, nectar's significance within their backyard sustenance will dwindle.

Other Fall Bird Feeding Best Practices

Feeding autumn birds encompasses more than solely offering appropriate nourishment. By fostering a secure backyard environment and addressing birds' supplementary necessities, your fall bird community can flourish in health, vitality, and diversity. Regularly inspect feeders for wear and tear, especially after intense summer utilization, repairing them to ensure the safety of incoming autumn birds. Here are some backyard feeding tips:

  • Maintain cleanliness and consistent food supply for the feeders, even in inclement autumn conditions, to prevent the transmission of ailments within migrating flocks.

  • Opt for autumn plants in your yard that provide evergreen shelter, featuring enduring berries, nuts, or fruits for seasonal sustenance.

  • Keep birdbaths replenished with fresh, uncontaminated water. Incorporate a heater or de-icing basin as fall progresses to preempt early freezes.

  • Allow leaf accumulation beneath trees, as this can allure birds seeking refuge, insects, fallen seeds, and supplementary nourishment.

  • Employ strategies to squirrel-proof bird feeders, thwarting autumn-hungry squirrels from diminishing birds' food stores.

Feeding birds during the autumn presents a gratifying opportunity to relish the seasonal shift, much like the transformation occurring within your backyard avian assembly. By adhering to these autumn bird feeding suggestions, you'll ensure the attraction of a diverse array of bird species that will joyfully partake in sustenance throughout the season.


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