Backyard Chirper

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When should I take down my bird feeders?

Now that summer is nearly here and there’s more than enough natural food, it’s time to stop feeding your backyard birds, right?


That’s not to say birds are completely dependent on bird feeders for their food, however. The vast majority of a bird’s diet is received from natural sources, but keeping your bird feeder up year-round is great for a number of reasons.

The first and main reason to keep your feeders up is so you can enjoy the birds. You might see this as a selfish reason, but bird feeding is a typically selfless act where you get rewarded by seeing some amazingly beautiful birds fluttering in your backyard. If you take down feeders during spring or fall, you might miss the most colorful species passing through your area during migration. Don’t deprive yourself!

It also makes life easier for birds. Birds don’t depend on your backyard for all their food—even in the winter—but it makes eating so much easier. So, when they’re mating or feeding young, having a source of food nearby helps them out.

There’s also a prominent myth that remains in the birding community that feeding birds in fall will prevent them from migrating. As I explained in a previous post, birds work on a biological level and will not be dissuaded from migrating to warmer temperatures because there’s a free buffet.

That’s not to say there aren’t real reasons to take down your birder feeders sometimes. If you’re struggling financially and buying seed has become difficult, you could take down your feeder and go find birds yourself. Another reason is if there is an outbreak of mites or salmonella at your feeders. You should take them down for a few weeks to let the outbreak blow over. A final reason to take down a feeder is if you’re in bear territory and you don’t have a bear-proof feeder.

So, feeding birds throughout the year is a great hobby that doesn’t have to be seasonal if you don’t want it to be.

There’s no compelling reason for you to take down your feeders during certain times of the year.

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.


  1. Thanks for your wonderful website! I love it. We NEVER take down our feeders except to clean them. As soon as I read your article aloud my husband rushed out to fill a feeder that was getting low on sunflower seed. Thank you again! Love, Ann

  2. Thanks for your readership and love, Ann. If all the article accomplished was to get your husband to refill the feeders, I think it’s a job well done.

  3. We have left our bird feeder up, and now it’s mid-May. But the cute birds have left (chickadees, juncos, and a wide variety of others). Now we have big grackles and a flock of bold cow birds and house sparrows. And its so messy. I say its time to take down the bird feeder, but my husband says they’re all interesting. Are these birds detrimental enough to justify my taking it down? I think they scared away the nice birds. We saw gold finches right before the cow birds arrived. But no more.

  4. Where can I find this bird feeder? The one on this page?

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