Backyard Chirper

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Four Simple Fall Bird-Feeding Tips

Summer just ended and the weather has already turned sour with rain and winds—in New York, at least. That means the birds are preparing for their long trip to warmer temperatures.

Many people wrongly assume if they have feeders out, birds will become complacent and won’t migrate, but that’s a myth. In fact, the opposite is true. Birds need even more nutrients to give them energy to make that arduous journey south.

So, I’ve assembled a list of things you should do to help your backyard birds brace for winter.

Clean your feeders

Just as you clean out your things for spring, you should do the same for fall. Hopefully you clean out your feeders at least every two weeks already, but use the coming of fall as motivation to really get in there and scrub your feeder.

Use food that provides the most calories

Whether your birds are gearing up for migration or getting ready for the cold weather of winter, providing food with high oil content will give them the energy and fat they need to survive. These foods include black oil sunflower seeds, suet, nyjer, nuts, nectar and more.

Squirrel-proof your feeders

Birds aren’t the only ones preparing for the winter. Squirrels are busy these next few months foraging and stocking up for the winter. An old favorite, of course, is the bird feeder. Make sure your food is well-guarded by using baffles or getting squirrel-proof feeders.

Forgo raking

As you know, not all birds only eat seeds. You can help out the insectivores by allowing leaves to pile up in a corner of your yard. This creates shelter and a prime place for insects to gather. Birds love this and you’ll get some unique birds you might have never had in your backyard.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.