Fall Backyard Bird Feeding Talk Recap

Tips from Connor Fox on what to expect from backyard bird feeding during the fall!

  • Migration

    • Migrants (hummingbirds, orioles, warblers, and other neotropical birds) that are here for the summer seek warmer climates in Central and South America
    • More prolonged than spring migration, but birds are not as active
    • Keep an eye out for Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at feeders as they migrate through
    • Rarer birds that do not traditionally visit feeders may be attracted to moving water features
    • Winter visitors will begin arriving
      • White-crowned Sparrows
      • White-throated Sparrows
      • Dark-eyed Juncos
      • Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
      • Brow Creepers
      • Foraging guilds
        • Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches, and Downy Woodpeckers looking for food in interspecies flocks
  • Feeding

    • Good time to clean feeders
    • Decreased feeder activity due to an abundance of natural food available
      • Decrease in suet consumption due to diet requiring more proteins than fats
    • Ensure a foundational feeder that contains a seed blend is filled half full despite slower feeding
      • A foundational feeder contains a seed blend that is appealing to the majority of the local bids and should hold enough seed to only need filling about once a week
      • Consistently having food in the feeder indicates to the birds that your feeder is a reliable source of food and will be beneficial for when feeder activity picks back up
    • Some birds will start to cache seeds in anticipation for the colder months
      • Blue Jays love to cache peanuts in the shell
    • Goldfinches still frequent visitors at feeders
      • Many juveniles can be seen at feeders as well as adults that are starting to molt from their highlighter yellow plumage into their olive winter coats
  • Other Considerations

    • Leaving an area of your yard dedicated to a brush pile where birds can forage and take refuge from inclement weather or predators
    • Now is a good time to clean nest boxes. Nesting is finished for the year and birds may seek shelter in boxes on cold nights
    • You may observe an increase in hawk activity at your feeders
    • Owls begin looking for nesting partners this time of year
    • Concrete and ceramic bird baths should be covered or stored in the winter. A heated bird bath or bird bath heater in a plastic dish are best for offering water when temperatures are below freezing