Your window to nature.

Fall seasonal tips

Your Autumn Backyard Checklist

  • Keep your hummingbird feeders up until you don’t see any hummers for a week, or until the nectar freezes. Migrating hummingbirds will continue to visit your feeders into October.
  • Follow migration on journeynorth.org. September is the main month for the southward migration of warblers, vireos, grosbeaks and sparrows. Blue Jays migrate in flocks across Minnesota. Early September is the peak time for monarch migration as well.
  • Prevent unwanted guests. Indian Meal Moths are very active in September, so store your seed in metal garbage cans on the deck, in the garage or in the shed and only buy as much as you will use in six weeks. For easy access, store smaller quantities in the freezer. To remove moths install a moth trap.
  • Feed goldfinches all year long. They are quite fond of golden safflower as well as Nyjer™ and Nyjer mixes.

  • Update or add to your pole system before the ground freezes. We’ll be glad to help you choose what’s best for your yard.
  • Consider a heated birdbath for the upcoming winter. Birds that don’t ordinarily go to bird feeders, like over-wintering robins, will always enjoy a clean water source.
  • Use white vinegar to remove any lime scale if you used a heated bird bath last winter.
  • Serve seeds and mixes without shells such as medium sunflower chips or Kracker Jax are less work for the birds to eat and less mess for you. A win-win.
  • Help Blue Jays with their food cache by filling an in-shell peanut feeder.
  • Juncos are coming! Scatter some Finches’ Choice or Spectrum on the ground or in a ground feeder for these winter visitors. White-throated Sparrows, White-Crowned Sparrows and Mourning Doves are also ground feeders that will enjoy this treat. To avoid gray squirrels in the screened bottom ground feeder fill it with white millet, golden safflower and Nyjer to attract cardinal, Mourning Doves, juncos and native sparrows. Chipmunks hibernate for most of December and into February and won’t be raiding the ground feeder.
  • Close up Purple Martin houses.
  • Don’t cut the seed heads from your perennials. Birds will eat these seed heads into the winter. Particularly valuable are Purple Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Sunflowers, and Hollyhock.
  • Add a large capacity feeder to reduce the number of trips out in the snow to refill this winter.
  • Host winter visiting Red-breasted Nuthatches with peanut pickouts, suet and mealworms. Many of your favorite backyard birds also love these high fat treats, including chickadees, woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches.
  • Clean out birdhouses. Leave one or two up all winter for chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and overwintering bluebirds to huddle in this winter. Or install a winter roosting box in a location that is warmed by the morning sun.
  • Give your feeders a good cleaning before winter. Use hot water and a mild dish detergent. Rinse the feeders with clear water for at least 10 seconds and make sure that it’s completely dry before refilling. We offer a bird feeder cleaning service if you’d rather have us do it!
Goldfinch in winter plumage
Nesting season is over and male American Goldfinches don’t need their bright yellow plumage to attract a mate. Their winter plumage is a dull olive green, similar to the females’ plumage, which helps to protect them from predators.
A blue jay pulls a peanut-in-the-shell from a feeder
Peanut-in-the-shell feeders attract nuthatches, woodpeckers, Blue Jays and more.