Oct 24, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2015

Autumn Gardening Tips for Your Yard Birds

Looking to attract more birds to your yard this fall? One of the birdiest places in your yard might be last summer's garden, provided you leave a tangle of dead plants in place. See more tips below.
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1. Don't clean up your garden, or at least not all of it. One of the birdiest places in your yard might be last summer's garden, provided you leave a tangle of dead plants in place. The birds will relish the insects, seeds, and other food material that is left behind.

2. Rake the lawn, but leave plant debris and fallen leaves beneath shrubs and in perennial beds. The decaying matter will provide insulation for roots and bulbs beneath the soil as it replenishes nutrients.

3. Find a spot in your yard for fallen leaves and garden debris, preferably close to the cover of trees or shrubs, where you can allow the yard waste to decompose. It provides habitat for ground-dwelling birds, including quail and sparrows, which peck and scratch through it looking for insect eggs and the remains of seeds.

4. Build a brush pile, especially if your yard is a vast expanse of lawn. The best spot for it, from the birds' perspective, is halfway between the safety of trees or shrubs and your bird feeding station. A brush pile will provide a safe stopping point between natural cover and your feeders, and encourage more visitors.





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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021