The leaves are changing, migration is wrapping up, and winter is in the air.  If you haven’t already, bring in your hummingbird and oriole feeders for the year (unless you live in the few places in the south of the US where they overwinter).  Clean them well with vinegar or bleach and water, allow them to fully dry, and then store them for the winter.  This is also a good time to bring in any breakable bird baths and add a deicer to your winter water sources as hard freezes start to be more of a concern.

Continue to offer a seed mix that is 50% black-oil sunflower, 5-10% safflower and/or shelled peanuts, and 40-45% millet.  Overwintering sparrows, juncos, and doves will feast on the millet.  You can spread it on the ground or let the other birds toss it from your hopper feeders if millet is in your normal seed mix.

Continue to offer the fatty, nut heavy suet that birds will need for energy throughout the winter.  This may be the time to consider adding a few additional feeders to your property for the higher demand in cold weather.

Continue to offer dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, and blueberries in your tray feeders.  In-shell peanuts can also be a nice treat for your local jays (and I’ve had Red-Bellied Woodpeckers take them as well).  Monitor your mealworm feeder, demand will probably taper off pretty significantly by this point.

If you have nesting or roost boxes on your property, now is the time to clean out the old nests and debris from this years use so that they are ready for the winter shelter needs.  You may also want to consider saving the brush from your fall tree and shub trimming and creating a brush pile in an unassuming corner of your property or garden to provide winter shelter.  Just make sure it’s not in a place your neighbors will complain.


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