October is National 'Leave the Leaves' Month. Please don't rake or blow them all away. Mother Nature has big winter plans for them.

Seed prices are falling (and tons of leaves) while holiday spirit is rising!

The Backyard Naturalist has hand-painted glass bird ornaments for the Holidays 2023.

Following up on two news topics from our Backyard Birder’s Fall Checklist: Seed prices are falling and National Leave the Leaves Month gathers momentum. And for our third bit of news, let’s look ahead to the new season upon us—the Holidays.

Seed prices are falling!

#1 – Seed prices are falling and we’re passing along the savings to our customers! It’s a good time to check your seed stash for freshness and replace it with this year’s harvest. (Quality Seed in Clean Feeders Matters!) Come see!

Leaves are falling! Mother Nature needs them. National Leave the Leaves Month(s!) movement is gathering momentum.

And #2 – Put that rake down and pack away your leaf blower. Mother Nature needs those leaves to protect her creatures over winter! Come spring, when you see birds feeding their babies from a healthy population of native insects, you’ll be thanking yourself. And possibly be seeing more lightning bugs!

There are many reasons to stop doing so much yard work and eliminate the expensive, time-consuming, back-breaking chore of spreading store-bought mulch. Seriously, while saving your body and budget, to also be actively restoring just a little patch of natural habitat by doing nothing? Are you smacking your head yet? We’re with you!

Leave the Leaves! Mother Nature uses them to protect the native insect population  over winter. Birds feed their babies almost exclusively on insects, so a  healthy insect population is critical to generations of wild birds!
Seed prices are falling, but falling leaves (and leaving them over winter) also make a difference to your backyard birds’ well-being! Mother Nature needs them to protect her creatures over winter, including the native insect population in your backyard. Come Spring, birds feed their new babies almost exclusively on insects, so a healthy insect population is critical for generations of your backyard birds!

Holiday Spirit rises! Shop Small and Shop Local this season.

And the last bit of news, at #3 – While prices and leaves are falling, our holiday spirit is rising. The Backyard Naturalist Team has the store decked out and stocked up before Small Business Saturday, November 25th. Shop with us! We have gift ideas for every age and within every budget—all under one roof.

In summary, we’ve got you covered! We’re your local Mom n’ Pop One-Stop Shop for everyone on your holiday shopping list!

Here are just a few of our gift ideas below:

Thoughtful Host/Hostess Thank You Gift Ideas for Grateful Guests

Show your host/hostess appreciation at upcoming holiday meals, like every good guest does, with a great alternative (or as an extra-thoughtful addition) to the classic bottle of wine.

Alice’s Cottage kitchen textiles are made right here in Maryland and are a delightful paring with Michel Design Works’ delicious soaps, candles and room sprays. Tucked into one of Alice’s tote bags, done! We have Alice’s wine totes for that bottle, too! These are also a great ‘just-in-case’ gifts to have in your back pocket.

Plenty of Kids’ Gifts That Involve ZERO Screen Time

Our Kid’s Corner is freshly loaded with many fun, educational toys, projects, kits and activities, games and puzzles, books, amazing full size and finger puppets – and more!! Come check us out!!

Stand By for The Backyard Birder’s Winter Checklist

The way time is flying, it will officially be winter sometime in the next 15 minutes. Kidding aside, with freezing temperatures predicted, it’s time to get ahead of the game to winterize your bird baths and keep the water ice-free for your birds.

Protect unheated concrete and ceramic baths from the ‘freeze-thaw-repeat’ that could damage them over time, by putting in a heating element. See our resource “Why Heat Bird Baths” for more info. To protect your investment and not worry, you could also put your baths in the garage until spring and get a simple heated bath. Your birds won’t mind! If you’re not sure what to do, just ask us! We’re here to help.

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

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2024. Take 15 minutes to count the birds you see and help make a world of difference.

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2024

Take Fifteen Minutes and Help Make a World of Difference

During February 16th-19th, counting birds in your backyard will help create a real time, global snapshot of wild bird populations and their locations.

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a four day, world-wide count that helps us learn more about wild birds and changes in their territories over time.

Just three super-easy steps!

Visit Birdcount.org for all the details, but this is basically how it works:

  1. Create your free Great Backyard Bird Count account at birdcount.org.
  2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes during February 16-19. You can submit more checklists! Keep a checklist for each count you do in additional locations, different times or on other days during the GBBC.
  3. Submit your results on the GBBC website or download the free eBird Mobile app.

How your count helps wild birds.

With data from citizen-science, scientists can better determine how birds are affected by habitat loss, pollution and disease.  Knowing where greatest needs are for species-specific conservation leads to targeted action to help birds’ survival.

How your count makes a world of difference.

Online citizen-science projects, like GBBC, offer research opportunities at a global scale. Our real-time observations and those of other volunteers world-wide are helping researchers identify and track larger trends in a changing climate.

Citizen-science offers unlimited opportunities to make a difference

The GBBC, launched in 1998, was the first online citizen-science project. Now, there are many more than we can list here! The CitizenScience.gov catalog alone has 497 project listings. 

For teachers, parents and mentors of junior citizen scientists

This is the perfect opportunity to share your love of birding with kids.  The Cornell Lab‘s ‘Feathered Friends’ GBBC info and family activities sheet is just one of their many FREE, fun and educational resources to help you inspire and nurture a child’s life-long connection with nature.

Thank you for creating and maintaining sanctuaries for your backyard birds.
Together, backyard by backyard, we are all making a difference.

Your continuing support of our efforts here at the store means the world to us. We can’t begin to thank you enough!
Debi & Mike Klein and The Backyard Naturalist Team

P.S. It’s not too early to start Thinking Bluebirds!!! Nesting season is so close, now. Are you seeing Eastern Bluebirds in your backyard count?

Left: Future parents scouting a Gilbertson Bluebird nest box.