Autumn is a great time to feed the birds, and not only will your resident backyard birds appreciate a delicious buffet, but birds getting ready to migrate will also stop by for a snack. Not top mention the juvenile birds who still have hearty appetites.
Birds have many different types of diets and an array of feeding preferences, understanding what and how birds eat is the first step toward attracting them with food.What foods are best to offer autumn birds? While feeding needs will change throughout the season and depending on which birds are visiting your feeders,
the following foods are good bets for fall bird feeding.
Black oil, striped or hulled, are the single best food to offer birds in any season. They are high in nutritious oil and easy for the birds to eat. They can be offered in platform, tray, hopper or tube feeders. If you have ever grown sunflowers, you would have seen birds devour the seeds as soon as they appear.
Suet…a is a high energy food ideal for fall birds. There are many ways to offer suet, including cakes, balls and plugs that come in many blends flavors. Place suet in cages or soften it to fill holes in a suet log for woodpeckers,
nuthatches and chickadees. Pellets or chopped suet can be put in platform feeders and trays.
Nyjer…seed is the favorite food of many finches. Goldfinches, siskins and redpolls are all especially fond of this high-oil seed, and will happily cling to sock or mesh feeders to eat. Use a tray or fine mesh net beneath the feeder to catch spilled hulls and make cleanup easy. Finches generally movearound in the fall. Your summer finches will leave and others will arrive. By keeping your feeders clean and filled will entice them to your yard.
White millet… is a starchy grain that is preferred by sparrows, juncos, and mourning doves. Because many of these birds are ground feeders, offer millet in open tray or platform feeders, or sprinkle it among fallen leaves for birds that forage in the leaf litter.
Custom Mixed Seed… are great in any season. In the fall, offer a mix with seeds that are preferred by the birds you are trying to attract. Avoid mixes with a lot of fillers such as milo and oats, however, because songbirds may not eat those seeds as readily, leaving them behind for less desirable birds such as pigeons. Offer mixed seeds in any feeder, including platforms,trays, hoppers and tubes.
Peanuts… are a great autumn food for birds, and many jays will cache nuts for a winter food supply. You can offer peanut halves in tube feeders for chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers. Blue jays are easily attracted to peanuts in the shell in a peanut wreath. However, avoid feeding birds salted or flavored nuts.
Natural foods… left in your yard after the summer ends are great for migrating birds. Fruit trees can attract a wide variety of hungry birds in autumn, as can seeds from ornamentals grasses, spent flowers and old berries still clinging to your bushes. Leave your leaf litter intact in your yard for birds to forage for seeds, insects and nuts – and it's a great excuse to avoid raking!
The way to a bird’s heart truly is through its stomach, and it’s easy to attract birds with food. By understanding what birds eat and the best foods to use to entice them, backyard birders can attract a wide variety of different species to their backyard buffet.