Fall is the time to get your yard ‘bird-ready’ for the winter season. I know first hand because the Blue Jays stop by at least twice a day to grab peanuts I put out for them to cache away in their preparation for winter (be sure to use only raw, unsalted peanuts).
One of the most important things we can do to help out our birds, and draw them to our yards, is to provide water. Clean water is vital not only for drinking but for bathing to keep their feathers clean. The small birds like the Pine Siskins in the photo above prefer that the water is fairly shallow. “A good birdbath mimics shallow puddles, which are nature’s bird baths” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which has a lot of helpful information on choosing and setting up bird baths.
Clean those birdfeeders including the area under them. If you live in an area where bears visit please follow this advice to be ‘Bear Smart’ for your protection, the protection of your property and protection of bears.
Make sure your windows aren’t collision hazards for the birds you are feeding. Read more about this problem and a number of ways to avoid bird collisions with your windows including a number of products to make your windows more bird safe in this excellent article.
The Audubon Magazine recommends providing some leaf mulch habitat such as where I found the White-throated Sparrow above :
- “Rake fallen leaves under shrubs to create mulch and to protect natural ground-feeding areas for such birds as sparrows, towhees, and thrashers. Birds prefer leaf mulch to woodchip and bark mulches. Earthworms, pillbugs, insects, and spiders–songbird delicacies–will thrive as the mulch decomposes.”
To find more good ideas see their ‘Winterize Your Yard for Birds’ article.