Fall is a season that signals big changes to the lives of songbirds. As chilly weather sets in, here are a few things to watch for.

Birds molt in preparation for winter

If you’re looking for one of the earliest signs of autumn, take a close look at the birds as they visit your feeders. Are they looking a bit scraggly? You may have caught them in that awkward phase of molting. Feathers take quite a beating over the summer months, being exposed to rain, wind, and ultra-violet rays from the sun. Before it gets cold (or before they migrate south), they drop the old set of feathers and grow in a fresh set.

Birds form flocks

In the fall, the songbirds shift priorities. Now that nesting season has wrapped up, the birds are no longer rivals for mates and nesting space. They let the bygones of spring fall away, and seek safety in numbers by forming flocks. Keep an eye out for groups of birds, whether they’re migrating to their winter grounds, foraging for food, or huddling for warmth on cold days.

Birdsong disappears in the colder months

When you’re spending time outdoors, you may notice the birds have lowered the volume. The chorus of warbles and songs that signaled springtime courtship and rivalries is gone. Sure, you may hear them communicating to each other through calls and chipping. Other than that, as the days grow shorter, the voices of birds get quieter.

Birds pack in more calories

Of course, when birds are getting ready for a journey, they’ll need plenty of fuel, which means they’re eating more. According to researchers, the sizes of their bellies and cells expand in preparation for the physical demands of migration.

Meanwhile, certain bird species that stay for the winter get busy storing up nuggets of food. The Black-capped Chickadee, for example, may make repeat visits to the feeder, tucking away those black-oil sunflower seeds in tree bark crevices and other secret hiding spots so they can get a bite to eat when they need it on a chilly day.

As you can see, fall is the perfect time to keep the bird feeders well stocked with high energy nuggets to support your feathered friends in the coming winter months. Feed the flocks with Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy Mix.