Many people don’t feed the birds in summer, reasoning that wild birds have lots of natural foods at this time of year. There is nothing wrong with that reasoning. Usually people feed birds in summer simply to bring the color and activity of wild birds into their yards.
If you did stop feeding the birds over summer, early autumn is the time to resume feeding if you want to have birds in your yard in winter. Autumn is the time when birds establish winter feeding grounds and scout good food sources. You might notice birds are singing a bit more than they did during the late “summer lull” when things seemed to get a bit quiet. That’s because birds use their calls and songs to let other birds know where their territories begin and end. Those territories may be different now than they were in summer. The food sources in the birds’ nesting areas may be used up, forcing the birds to look elsewhere for a new supply.
When you fill your feeders again in fall, birds will quickly catch on that your yard is a good food source and they’ll continue to return throughout the winter. And birds really do need a helping hand when the weather becomes frigid and their water sources are frozen. Making your yard a haven that birds can count on with lots of food and ice-free water makes a huge difference in a bird’s ability to survive the winter.
So, if you’ve been feeding all summer, that’s great. If not, beginning to feed the birds now will let them know that your yard is a place where they can remain during the winter.