Fall Backyard Birding Checklist: 13 Tips to Attract More Birds This Autumn

Every season brings tasks that backyard birders can do to encourage more birds to visit. Read on for proven tips to ensure great birdwatching in autumn.

ruby-crowned kinglet in autumnCourtesy Laura Frazier
Ruby-crowned kinglet in November

Every season brings tasks that backyard birders can do to encourage more birds to visit. Read on for easy projects you can do before the snow starts falling to ensure great bird-watching in the months ahead.

  1. Double the number of seed and suet feeders around your yard, as birds are currently flocking and there are many more mouths to feed.
  2. Switch to hopper-style feeders, which are more practical than tray feeders at times when the moisture from rain and snow can ruin food. Tube feeders work well in inclement weather, too. Psst—these are the 10 types of bird feeders you need in your backyard.
  3. Stockpile all types of sunflower seeds. These offer the greatest amount of energy for the birds of fall and winter.
  4. Check the condition of feeders and squirrel baffles to make sure they will make it through the winter. Replace the ones you can’t repair.
  5. In the North, switch exclusively to suet and a few types of birdseed, as the birds that enjoy fruit and insects have gone south for the winter.
  6. After the last of the orioles and hummingbirds have passed through your area, remove and clean all sugar-water feeders.
  7. Protect stored bird food by securing it in waterproof garbage cans. Place bricks or bungee cords on top of lids to keep out raccoons and squirrels.
  8. Birds that are migrating south need water to both refresh themselves and keep their feathers in good shape for smoother flying.
  9. Shut down birdbaths and ponds after the last migrants have passed through, unless you live in a frost-free zone. Otherwise, an electric birdbath heater may be used to attract thirsty birds.
  10. Take down most birdhouses. To remove parasites and insects, clean with a solution of soap, water and 10 percent bleach.
  11. Leave up a couple of birdhouses to serve as weatherproof roosting sites for chickadees, bluebirds and woodpeckers.
  12. During your fall yard cleanup, collect woody plant clippings to create brush piles. These will protect ground birds and other wildlife.
  13. Plant a few evergreen trees and/or shrubs around feeders to help birds hide from predators, and to offer security during cold winter nights.

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Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She enjoys growing vegetables in containers and raised beds and watching for birds in her backyard.