Fall migration is beginning…is your backyard ready?

As you may have seen on our Facebook page, MRBO has begun fall migration surveys, as the onset of fall migration is beginning. You may have noticed fewer birds in your backyard as they started ‘staging’ or gathering in larger groups and filling up on food preparing for migration.

Onset of Autumn colors at Wah-kon-tah Prairie

Feeding migrant birds

With the onset of fall migration, restock your feeders! Residents birds will want to fatten up for the coming cooler temperatures, and you may get the chance to see some rare migrants passing through your neighborhood! Birds that travel further North to nest that you haven’t seen in a while will be passing back through, so if you haven’t fed any jelly, fruit, or hummingbird nectar for a while they may return if you resupply these food resources. Long-distance migrant birds rely on built up fat stores to sustain bursts of flights that can cover hundreds of miles at a time. As such, it may be good to focus more on high oil-content foods such as peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and suet, too.

Of course, not all birds will come to feeders. Some prefer insects found in the understory of trees, so leave them some foraging areas by not clearing out all of the leaves as they start to fall. If you can, provide a water source as well. Food, water, and shelter are the key to healthy birds, even if they don’t stick around for long! On that note, feeding birds will not encourage them to stay in your yard if they typically continue migrating. As you may remember from our webinar, birds rely on multiple cues to migrate: photoperiod, temperature, and food availability all contribute.

Safe travels for birds

Another step to assisting in safe migration is protecting birds from window strikes. In our previous blog post, MRBO shared that we are partners with Lightsoutheartland, which can help you get ideas about how to limit light pollution, and advocate for safer migration corridors for birds. Limiting window strikes at home through decals or painted on lines is another great solution.

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