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If You Fill Them, They Will Come

Photo Group
Downy Woodpecker
Photo by: 
Mary Nemecek

Early autumn is one of the slowest times at your bird feeders each year. This is the time when nature's bounty is at its peak and wild animals have to take advantage of this natural windfall. Have no fear faithful bird feeders, the temperatures will drop, frost will come and so will the birds.

In years of severe drought we expect to see a diminished supply of natural food available in the fall. Why isn't this a hard rule of thumb? Native plants of our area have evolved with drought conditions and will often produce their seeds in spite of adverse conditions. One theory is that plants will over produce seeds during stressful times just in case they die.

Whatever the natural food conditions are, we know the birds will return. When stress levels (cold temperatures, frost, ice, snow, etc.) go up, the activity at your feeders will increase dramatically. All studies show that birds get no more than 15% of their daily diets from your bird feeders. The early signs are already in place as I write this, dark-eyed juncos, white-throated; white-crowned sparrows and even purple finches have been reported in our area. Just as many await robins and hummingbirds as signof spring, I look for these birds as a sure sign of fall.

Is your Feeder Station Ready?

  • Have you done a good cleaning of your feeders with a mild bleach or 50/50 vinegar water mix?
  • Have you repaired any feeders that has missing or broken parts? Many companies have lifetime warranties and we can order parts for you.
  • Have you checked your bird bath to make sure it isn't leaking? We have a great insert that works in most concrete bird baths so that you don't have to worry with the leaking issue ever again.
  • Have you tested your bird bath heater? It IS the most important piece of your station.
  • Have you addressed all of the feeding elements that you want?
  • A feeder with a large flat surface for the bigger birds
  • A tube feeder or two for the smaller birds
  • A peanut and or suet feeder for the tree clinging birds
  • Have you stocked up on bird seed? I recommend an aluminum trash can with a bungee cord to keep the lid securely attached.

Fall is a wonderful time of the year for many reasons. For most of us it is the beautiful colors and cooler temperatures, for others it is football and for people like us, it is the return of FEEDER SEASON.

By Mark McKellar

FALL 2003