Winter is a popular time of year to feed the birds, but why not get your bird feeding station ready now, before the cold weather arrives? It will be much easier to choose a great spot for your feeder, and fall also offers some excellent bird viewing. Keep an eye out for these three examples of why fall makes for prime feeder watching:

1. Summer insect-eating birds re-emerge

As the beetles and other bugs disappear, woodpeckers and nuthatches spend less time foraging in trees and more time looking for seeds, nuts, and fruit. To attract these wintertime favorites to your feeder, fill it with Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy Mix, featuring dried fruits and nuts.

2. Winter birds get busy caching sunflower seeds

In the fall, look for repeat visits from the Black-capped Chickadee as it selects a single shelled sunflower seed and flies off with it. Where is it going? Probably to a tree where it will wedge the seed into a bark crevice for a future meal on a cold day. Blue Jays deploy their own version of this winter survival tactic, appearing to “vacuum” up an ample supply of sunflower seeds, when it’s actually stuffing these into a pouch in its throat called a crop. Once filled, the jay flies away to hide the bounty. Lyric Supreme Mix, containing 50% sunflower seeds and nuts, provides an ideal cold-weather fuel source for birds that cache.

3. Colorful migrating birds fly in for a landing.

If you’re lucky, your backyard feeder could attract some colorful characters traveling to their tropical winter homes. Scarlet Tanagers and Western Tanagers bring splashes of red and yellow. The Painted Bunting brings a rare sighting of a “flying rainbow,” while its relatives, the Lazuli Bunting and Indigo Bunting, are visions in jewel-toned blue. If you live in their “flyway,” select a mix with finely cut seeds, such as Lyric Fine Tunes Mix, to draw them in for a landing.

The Black-capped Chickadee will select a single shelled sunflower seed from a feeder in autumn to save it for a day that is colder with less access to food. suefeldberg / iStock / Getty Images Plus.