Oct 11, 2017 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2017

Fall Birding Tips

Birdbaths—especially ones with moving water—are a great way to attract migrating birds.
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Moving water in your birdbath created by a mister or dripper is a fantastic way to attract birds. During spring and fall migration, when species not normally found in your area are passing through, an attractive birdbath can make them stop to bathe or drink. Make sure the basin is clean and in a spot where you can easily observe it throughout the day.

Let your lawn go. It's all about seed heads. Skip the final mowing or two of an area of your yard, and let the grass go to seed. This, too, is natural bird food. Passing buntings, sparrows, and finches will thank you by spending time in your slightly wild yard. Unmowed lawn sections can attract pine siskins, juncos, goldfinches, and several varieties of sparrows.

Leave your leaves. Leaving your fallen leaves alone helps your birds both directly and indirectly. The leaves trap and hold moisture from dew and rain, which helps keep your lawn from drying out. As the leaves break down (mowing over them can hasten this) they add valuable nutrients to the soil. Fallen leaves also attract and are fed upon by insects, which in turn are fed upon by birds such as robins, blackbirds, thrushes, bluebirds, catbirds, thrashers, and more.

Make your windows safe for migrants. Migrating birds get restless and almost hyperactive in the fall. Such activity can have tragic results if one or more of your windows is in a location where flying birds strike the glass. You can use a screen or strips of foil or plastic to break up reflections in the offending windows. The Bird Watcher's Digest Nature Shop sells a FeatherGuard for $9.99 (postage included) that deters birds. Whatever solution you choose, now is a good time to address the reflection of windows birds have hit.



About Bill Thompson, III

Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest by day. He's also a keen birder, the author of many books, a dad, a field trip leader, an ecotourism consultant, a guitar player, and blogger.

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