About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Feeding birds in fall

Fall is a good season to feed birds. Even though natural foods are plentiful, birds are always scouting for good places to return to when the weather turns rough. And if you wait to feed only when severe weather arrives you may be miss out on all the migrating birds. Coming soon to a feeder near you will be the White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows. Two spiffy sparrows that only pass through mid-Michigan in the spring and fall right before the weather turns.

Typically, feeders serve as a supplemental source of food for birds in your yard. Fruit and nut bearing plants supply a natural food source as well as native seed producing plants. There is no best or worst time to start bird feeding. But you will see more birds at the feeders during bad weather.

Low temperatures force birds to burn up to 10% of their body weight in stored fat each night to stay warm and this fat must be replaced every day. Be sure to keep your feeders filled with the high-energy, high-fat foods that provide your birds with the crucial nutrition they need to survive. Studies indicate that sunflower seeds, nuts, White Proso Millet, Safflower, and Nyjer® Thistle are among the most preferred seed types.

Suet & Seed Cylinders also offer an easy way to provide birds with essential calories throughout the year.

All foods should be stored in a cool, dry place to keep them fresh. In the warm months only buy as much as you can use in month. During fall and winter, seed can be stored up to 3 months in a cold area. Wild Birds Unlimited has closed steel containers that work well to protect seed from unwanted seed thieves.

If you enjoy feeding birds, there is no reason to stop. A recent Census Report reveals that over 65 million Americans, young and old, feed wild birds. Feeding in the fall won't stop birds from migrating or foraging for food naturally.

And Goldfinches are in our area year-round. I’m watching a baby learn how to eat sunflower chips at my window feeder right now. They do lose their bright yellow color in the fall but when they sing at the feeders it's like they bring sunshine with them even on the dreariest days. Watch a window feeder video with baby goldfinches: http://youtu.be/_7KhUDcK-ZA

Consider that the average wild bird weighs less than two nickels and you’ll realize that the winter can be a very punishing time for your backyard friends. Birds that come at dawn and dusk on cold days are hungry, and it's nice to make sure that they always find something to eat. And don't forget to keep the birdbath and other water sources filled with fresh, clean water, because all birds need to drink and maintain clean feathers.

Related Articles:
Common winter birds in Michigan and their food preference:
How to choose the best suet cake
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder
How to winterize your bird feeding station
Best food for birds in the winter
Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds

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