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10 Tips to Care for Wild Birds in Autumn

As summer turns to autumn, we witness the stunning natural transformations around us: leaves changing colors, the air becoming crisper, and wildlife preparing for the colder months ahead. Among the many creatures getting ready for the winter season are the beautiful and graceful wild birds that inhabit our surroundings. These little beings bring joy and melody to our lives, so it’s only fair that we return the favor by providing them with the care they need during autumn. In this blog, we will explore 10 essential tips to ensure the well-being of our feathered friends as the temperatures drop and their needs change.

1.Put Up a Bird Feeder

As autumn arrives, natural food sources will become scarce for birds. To support our winged friends, we can install bird feeders in our gardens or balconies. Choose a variety of birdseed blends, such as black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, and other high-energy foods to help them build up fat reserves for the winter. Dirty feeders can harbor bacteria and diseases that can be harmful to birds. Make sure to clean your feeders regularly with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Your act of kindness will go a long way in helping birds maintain their energy reserves for the colder months.

2.Offer Natural Food Sources

While bird feeders are essential for providing supplementary food, it’s equally vital to nurture local plants and trees that offer natural food sources for birds. Native plants and trees produce fruits, nuts, and seeds that many bird species rely on. Consider planting native shrubs and trees like shadbush, hawthorn or dogwood, which provide berries and seeds that birds favor. These natural food sources not only provide necessary sustenance for birds but also contribute to the overall health of the local ecosystem.

3.Keep Bird Baths Clean and Ice-Free

Just as humans need fresh water, birds need water to drink and bathe in, even in cooler weather. By maintaining clean and ice-free bird baths, birds will have access to water for drinking and bathing. During the autumn season, birds are busy growing thicker plumage to keep warm in winter. To help with that, they rely on bathing to clean and condition their feathers. Additionally, a clean birdbath prevents the spread of diseases caused by stagnant water. Install a heating element or replace water frequently to prevent freezing and ensure the birds have easy access to water.

4.Create Sheltered Spaces

As the weather cools, birds need a place to roost and stay warm. You can consider putting up a nest box or providing other shelter options like brush piles or evergreen trees in your backyard. Different bird species have varying preferences for shelter, so research which species are commonly found in your area and tailor your efforts accordingly. Placement of birdhouses should be away from prevailing winds and rains, and most importantly, away from predators. Proper maintenance should be carried out to ensure their durability and functionality.

5.Provide Nesting Materials

As birds start to build their nests for the winter, it’s important to provide them with the necessary materials. Materials like grass, feathers, and twigs are ideal for providing nesting materials for birds, which can be found in your garden or local park, or even purchased from a pet store. It is important to make sure the materials are natural and free from any chemicals, as these can be harmful to the birds. Moreover, it’s best to put them in an area away from predators and windy areas and make sure they are not being disturbed by other birds or animals.

6.Avoid Over-Pruning 

Over-pruning can remove essential food sources such as berries and seeds, and can also remove sheltered spaces. Birds often take refuge in dense foliage as they seek shelter from the elements and predators. By postponing major pruning until winter, you provide birds with more time to find alternative safe spaces. The aim should be to strike a balance between maintaining the health of your plants and providing valuable habitat for birds. Consult with local wildlife experts or garden centers to determine the most suitable approach for your area. 

7.Avoid Using Pesticides

Chemical pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to birds and their food source. Pesticides can also contaminate the soil and waterways, which can have a negative impact on the bird’s habitat. You can try to use natural alternatives to pesticides, such as organic fertilizers and beneficial insects. These are better for the environment and the birds. Avoid using pesticides in areas where birds feed or roost. If you must use a pesticide, try to use a less toxic product and use it only when necessary. Finally, clean up any spilled pesticides and dispose of them properly.

8.Minimize Hazards

Autumn can pose various hazards for birds, so it’s crucial to minimize risks to protect their safety. Clean gutters regularly to prevent water clogging that can damage nests. Remove any loose netting or string that birds may become entangled in. Domestic cats and dogs can be a danger to wild birds. Keep your pets indoors or on a leash when birds are around to prevent accidental harm. Finally, prevent window collisions by affixing decals or hanging decor to break up reflections that might confuse birds.

9.Leave Fledglings Where You Find Them

It’s natural for fledglings to leave the nest before they can fly. Fledglings are often found on the ground or in low-lying bushes and trees as they are still not adept at flight and take time to learn the skill. If you come across a fledgling on the ground, do not assume that it needs help. In most cases, the parents are nearby and will continue to care for their young. If you are unsure, monitor the bird from a distance and contact a wildlife rehabilitation center if necessary. Keep cats and dogs away from it or create a makeshift shelter nearby.

10.Create Communities

Creating communities is a also great way to get people involved in the conservation of birds and the environment. There are several ways to do this. One way is to organize events or volunteer opportunities that involve helping wild birds. You can also educate them about the importance of birds and their habitats by holding talks or workshops and sharing tips on how people can help wild birds in their own backyards. Finally, create a social media strategy to help spread the word about wild bird conservation. Share photos and stories about wild bird conservation and invite people to join the conversation. This will help create a supportive online community that will help to encourage more people to care for wild birds in autumn.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that wild birds have the resources they need to survive and thrive. Remember, every little bit counts, and together we can make a difference.

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