Best Bird Feed for Fall Feeding
While many feeder birds will gravitate to a variety of food in the wild, once cool weather hits, those same birds will start looking for food that’s easy to get and packed with energy. That makes your bird feeders great for fall feeding — birds don’t have to scour the landscape to find it and you can control exactly what goes into it!
Select the right seed – The best for fall feeding are those that have a lot of protein and fat packed inside of each bite. With that in mind, sunflower seed, peanut hearts and safflower seed are the best option for most birds. For many species, especially finches, thistle seed is also a good option. If you opt to buy mixed seed, look for those with high percentages of sunflower seeds, nuts and safflower seeds inside.
Suet Cakes Deliver – With the right bird feeder, suet can be a valuable addition to your autumn bird-feeding efforts. This food is totally unlike bird seed – it’s rendered lard mixed with a number of other bird-friendly ingredients that is hardened into a cake-like wedge. Birds can then pick it apart to build up their own fat reserves. While many suet cakes can spoil in warm weather, they’re perfect for fall and winter feeding.
Give Them Peanut butter – The easiest DIY bird feeder of them all is always a big hit with birds! Simply spread peanut butter on to a pine cone and hang it on a tree branch. Your birds will happily dig out every last bit of that high-protein, high-fat sandwich spread.
More Ideas for Attracting Fall Feeder Birds
There is plenty more you can do to make your yard the perfect place for your visitors throughout the season.
Water – Having a supply of clean water for birds to use is a huge attractant. You can try a bird waterer or install a bird bath. Whichever you do, make sure to change the water frequently and take steps to keep it from freezing.
Ground feeding – Many bird species prefer to eat on the ground. Accommodate those birds by spreading a small amount of seed underneath your feeders.
Alternatives to ground feeding – Of course you don’t have to drop food directly on the ground. You can also pour seed on a deck, railing or other inviting space that will attract ground foragers.
Leaf raking & snow shoveling – Always try to keep the space under your feeder clear of anything that can hide seed that’s fallen to the ground. A pile of fallen leaves or a heap of snow can be the difference between a bird going hungry and a helpful meal.
Keep feeders clear – When snow, ice, sleet and rain hit your yard, take steps to keep the bird seed in your feeders dry. In snowy weather, brush any accumulations on your feeder off. During wet and icy weather, put a limited amount of seed in the feeder until the rough weather passes. Soggy or frozen food can keep birds away.
Stay clean – Remember, keep your feeders clean! All the activity at your feeders can also create a breeding ground for bird illnesses. A regular routine of feeder cleaning will really help them through the winter.
Nest boxes – The autumn is a great time to clean out bird houses and nest boxes of the bedding placed inside during the breeding season. Pull out all that material and scrub the inside with warm soapy water.