As fall approaches, you’re going to start seeing a change in what birds are in your yard and around town. Some birds will fly south for the winter, some will come from the north to balmy southern Michigan, and still others will stay around all year.
Birds that we have around here which migrate are juncos, pine siskins, warblers, hummingbirds and sparrows. Birds that stick around all winter include chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, cardinals and blue jays.
This article from Audobon Great Lakes tells what birds will be on the move this fall.
All of them need energy, protein, vitamins and antioxidants to help them make it through the winter, wherever they are. Here are some tips to help the migrating species, particularly songbirds, to give them the energy they need to start, or recover from, their long flights:
- Keep your cats indoors – domestic cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion birds in the United States every year. Birds can’t migrate at all if they’ve become cat food. Your cat can watch the birds through the window and enjoy the delicious food you give it every day.
- Provide high fat, high protein food – sunflower seeds, sunflower seed chips, suet, peanuts, berries, mealworms (dried are fine).
- Plant bushes and trees that provide cover and produce berries – dogwoods, spicebush, bayberry, cranberry, winterberry, chokeberry, serviceberry, hawthorn, crabapples.
The more food and native fruit-producing shrubs and trees that you provide the better. The energy they need to spend looking for food can be saved for the long trip ahead of, or behind them. By planting some of the plants listed, you’ll be helping birds, and beautifying your own yard with more birds, and the plants themselves.