As the temperatures gradually cool and the leaves start to change color, you may wish to start thinking about how you can help local and migrating birds survive and thrive this fall.

Providing our avian friends a ready source of food can help give them the calories they need to adapt to falling temps and/or continue on their flying journeys to warmer climes. Audubon reports that some 4,000 bird species migrate, preparing for their journeys by entering a state called hyperphagia in which they bulk up on food to store fat. Others use food sources to add thicker down and plumage to their bodies so they can safely shelter in local evergreens, hedges, tree cavities, brush piles, or man-made birdhouses.

Ready to get started with your autumn bird buffet? Here are some tips:

  • Feeding local winter species now could encourage them to live nearby all season long.
  • Don’t worry that giving birds an easy source of food could make them so dependent on that source that they don’t migrate. Your feeder is bound to be just a pit stop for migrating birds that are also taking advantage of the natural autumn harvest of wild berries, fruits, grains, and seeds, but if you're lucky, some may imprint on your location and return for more food in the spring.
  • Some of the best bird foods for fall are high in both calories and fat. Your mix may contain black oil sunflower, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios, dried cranberries, raisins, and sunflower kernels. One blend bound to be appreciated by multiple species this autumn is Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy Mix.
  • Keep feeders clean even as cold weather sets in to avoid spreading any avian diseases.

Happy autumn birding, and enjoy the show!