Many people mistakenly believe that leaving feeders out in the fall will cause birds not to migrate. While this seems logical enough, the truth is that reliable food sources like feeders are only one small factor in migratory patterns: daylight levels, climate, and instinct are just as important, if not more.
In fact, leaving feeders out in the fall is very helpful to birds. It:
- Helps them build fat reserves to last them through migration.
- Fosters imprinting on the location of reliable food sources so they return in spring.
- Provides an easy food source for migrating birds passing through.
- Affords supplemental food when natural sources are exhausted.
- Attracts the first winter birds and encourages them to remain nearby.
As you can see, leaving your feeders out not only supports your current residents, but also helps attract migrant birds and early winter birds!
Some of the best foods to feed birds in autumn are those that give migrating birds great nutrition along with an energy boost, such as:
- Black oil sunflower seed
- White proso millet
- Peanut butter
- Cracked corn
- Nectar (early fall)
So, Feed the Birds & Bird On!
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