We have a few feeders in our backyard. We were wondering if we should leave them empty in August and early September to discourage birds that fly south for the winter from remaining here in NJ because they have a food supply in our yard.
If you enjoy feeding birds, you should continue to feed them year-round. Feeding the birds in late summer and fall will not make them stick around if they migrate south normally. And the birds that do stick around all year are choosing their winter territories right now.
This is such an exciting time for the birds! As you may have noticed, birds have been attacking the feeders like there is no tomorrow. First they have to take in a lot of high fat, high protein foods to change their feathers. Then they need to increase their fat reserves by as much as 1-10% per day to prepare for winter or a long journey south. In human terms, this would mean I would have to gain 12 pounds per day. Birds change into a “superbird” state when their internal clock is triggered by shorter days and cooler weather at the end of summer.
And don’t forget about the American Goldfinches. They have just started nesting and will bring their adorable babies to the feeders in the next couple weeks. Such fun! Fall is actually my favorite time to feed. I like to watch the baby finches’ as they call to their parents and the cardinals forming flocks in my yard. Then the migrating warblers, kinglets, pewees, gnatcatchers, and vireos may join tree-foraging guilds for a short time during migration stopovers. I love it when the kinglets fly in to mingle with the chickadees every fall.
To help the birds, you can feed them high energy, high fat foods. Wild Birds Unlimited is dedicated to offering fresh, top-quality seed. Our no-waste bird seed blends are made from 100% edible seed and have been exclusively formulated for the feeding preferences of our local birds. No cereal fillers—just fresh, high-quality seed your birds will love.
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