- Increase the number of feeders: The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says that Autumn is a good time to increase the number and kinds of feeders you put out for the birds. From now on, birds will eat more and more as the temperatures drop lower and lower, they say. So in order to attract more birds, add more feeders to increase your odds. Remember that some birds like to be higher or lower to the ground, or require a perch, etc. So you'll want to not only increase the number of feeders but also vary the types and heights as well. Trying to attract specific birds? Read up on their feeder preferences here.
- Provide variety: We just mentioned varying the heights and types of feeders in the yard, but we also want to broaden the menu to suit a wider variety of bird tastes. Some seeds that are great for winter birds are: black oil sunflower seeds, nyger, safflower seeds, white millet, and suet. A tip from birdwatching.com, don't buy bags of mixed birdseed. They contain a lot of filler, such as red millet. Most birds won't eat it. It gets kicked onto the ground, where it stays until it rots. Mixed birdseed is not a bargain. Buy the seeds you know your birds want.
- Provide running water: This one I had never heard of or thought about before. Apparently, the sound of running water in a birdbath or pond can be heard by migrating birds from very far away, and will draw them to your yard! Typically, the types of birds you will attract with this method are those that eat bugs--makes sense (we all know how water attracts insects as it's something we tend to try to avoid in the warmer months).
- Plant evergreens: Birds don't like hanging out or nesting in bare trees. There's no cover for safety. So it makes sense that birds at this time of year would prefer evergreens. So plant it...and they will come. Fall is also a great time to plant a tree anyway. The NWF suggests planting yours near feeders or birdbaths. This particular tip will take some time to bring results, but after a year getting acclimated to it's new location, a healthy evergreen will add 8" to 16" of new growth per year. (Source: nurserymen.com)
- Move the action closer: The main reason for all these tips is so that you and I can spend more time enjoying the birds in our yard. So another great tip from NWF is to move your bird feeders and birdbaths closer to the house, so you can get close to the creatures without disturbing them--or even better yet, you might catch a glimpse of nature without even stepping foot outside! Enjoying nature while sitting by a window with a warm blanket and a cup of tea? You can't beat that!
Enjoy these tips and happy birdwatching! Remember that when starting this process, be patient. According to birdwatching.com, it may take as long as several weeks before birds will discover your feeders. While you wait, be sure to keep the feeders filled. Eventually, the birds will come. And don't worry, feeding wild birds (despite popular myth) will not prevent them from migrating and will not make them dependent on you for survival! Research has shown that wild birds only get on average 25 percent of their food from feeders; and if anything, the food you provide will give migrating birds an extra energy boost for their journey.