Fall Migration is exciting for backyard birders. You never know who will show up at your bird bath!

The Backyard Birder’s Fall Migration 2023 Checklist

Keep your Backyard Bird Airbnb ready for guests!

Tips and advice for Backyard Birders on making the most of Fall Migration while supporting migrants heading south.

#1 in your Fall Migration 2023 Checklist: Water is KEY! Maintaining a bird bath during Fall Migration is a great opportunity to attract an unusual guest.

  1. Fall Migration 2023 continues!  Keep your bird baths clean and filled with fresh water to lure in beautiful Fall migrants as they head south. These are mostly non-seed eaters, but water is essential to all wild birds and will encourage them to hang out and rest a bit.
  2. Leave the leaves!  Very important item on your Fall Migration 2023 Checklist! Doing less yard work is good for you, but ESSENTIAL for your backyard habitat. By not raking (and especially NOT BLOWING) all the leaves out of your yard, you will:
    • Preserve food and shelter for countless wintering birds, butterflies, fireflies and more.
    • Nurture the critical food source that birds will feed their developing nestlings come Spring.
    • And meanwhile, also avoid the hassle and expense of hauling mulch to your yard!
      There are more reasons to keep them and more ways to use them than we can list here! 
      By just doing NOTHING, we can all make a difference, backyard by backyard!!!  Read more here on the National Wildlife Federation website.
  3. Devote yourself to #2 on your Fall Migration 2023 Checklist! When it’s time for your Spring Migration 2024 Checklist, you’ll be thanking yourself for a job well (un)done! Enjoy your Summer bonus, too! By leaving the leaves (and giving all the creatures who need them a chance to survive and thrive), you’re likely to see more lightning bugs this summer! Joy!
  1. Hummingbirds are on the move and your feeders are supporting Hummingbirds passing through! Keep feeders clean and filled with fresh nectar.
    Leave your Hummingbird feeders up at least two weeks after your last sighting—even through Halloween. This Will NOT keep your Hummers from migrating, we promise! Any visitors now need to keep bulking up en route during their incredibly long journey ahead!
  2. Goldfinches (and their newly-hatched broods) are active, too!  Remember, juveniles are the squeaky ones learning to navigate your nyjer feeders! In addition to nyjer, also discovering the tastiness of hulled sunflower kernels. With an Upside Down Feeder filled with our Finch Favorite blend, support your Finches and deny access to other birds like pesky and abundant House Sparrows.
  3. Don’t deadhead the flowers in your garden! Goldfinches will do it for you and it is pure joy to watch them in action.
  4. Clean out your bird houses to get them ready for winter roosting during bad weather. Chickadees, Carolina Wrens and Bluebirds will be particularly grateful!
  5. Check the freshness of your bird seed! if your seed is left over from last winter because you don’t feed during the summer,  it’s time to buy fresh.  Oils in seed go rancid over time and are unhealthy.
  6. Clean your bird feeders!  Now’s the time to clean your feeders and remove any moldy remains from our hot and humid summer.
  7. Water, again! Have you checked your bird bath yet? If your backyard bath is popular, you may need to refresh and refill more often during the ‘height of tourist season’.

As our beloved Catbirds and Hummingbirds quietly slip away to migrate south, the good news is that it won’t be long before Juncos and White-throated Sparrows arrive to winter over.

How’s your Fall Migration 2023 Checklist looking so far? Keep up the good work!

Birding during Fall Migration is awesome! Keep your field guides and binoculars handy for unusual sightings, because you never know who’s going to show up! Check out bird movement in real time with Cornell Lab’s Birdcast migration tools. Visit our dedicated Fall Migration resource page for more.

Bi-monthly Bird Walks with Pete Givan

Join our wonderful Pete Givan on bi-monthly Bird Walks! Pete posts the time and place on our Facebook page! Great photos, too!

Thank you for supporting your backyard birds and all our efforts at The Backyard Naturalist.Happy Fall Migration!

Debi and Mike Klein & The Backyard Naturalist Team

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