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West Fargo, ND
Help Birds in Fall
Top 10 Things You Can Do for Birds in Fallby Bill Thompson, III ( read about Bill )
Whether you'd like to admit it or not, summer is almost over and autumn is nearly upon us. Spring cleaning gets lots of attention, but for the backyard bird watcher, there's just as much to do in fall as in spring. I've spent much of the past few weekends at our farm doing the items listed below, so this column came to me naturally, you might say. I like the anticipation of fall. At the farm fall migration is almost always better than spring migration-we get more birds, and we get more unusual birds. The only thing missing is fresh spring plumage and the symphony of singing males. To ensure that you get the most out of this fall's migration, I offer these suggestions for the birds in your backyard.
10. Water in motion. Moving water in your birdbath created by a mister or dripper is a fantastic way to attract birds. During spring and fall migration, when species not normally found in your area are passing through, an attractive birdbath can make them stop to bathe or drink. Make sure your bath is clean and in a spot where you can easily observe it throughout the day.
9. Keep the cat indoors. Migrant birds are not familiar with your backyard's delights or dangers. A lurking cat can take a heavy toll during migration as unsuspecting birds are lured into your yard by habitat, water, and food. It's a good idea to keep your cat indoors throughout the year, but especially important during fall migration, when adult birds are joined by naïve youngsters making their first southward flight.
8. Replace old dirty nests. It seems that our late-summer broods of bluebirds are always the messiest. By the time the young have fledged, the insides of the nestbox are caked with droppings, feather dust, and insect parts. We always give the houses a good sweeping out in the fall and replace the filthy old nest with a clean new cup of dried grasses. As I've mentioned in this column before, we like to think of the bluebirds, chickadees, or a downy woodpecker snuggled deep in the insulating grass inside the box on a cold winter night.
7. Feeder check up and inventory. When fall is here, winter is already getting ready for its grand entrance. If you live in a region where winter weather is harsh, now is the time to look over those large capacity feeders that have been in storage since last spring. Are they fit for another winter of use? Do they need a good cleaning? Do you want to upgrade or expand your feeders and offerings? Avoid the holiday rush and get your shopping done now.
6. Let your garden go. It's hard to resist the urge to pull up all the dead tomato, squash, and other plants in your garden once the growing season is over. And some gardening experts encourage this immediate yanking and burning of the old plants to reduce the chance of plant disease carrying over to the next spring. We've never subscribed to that theory, but then we don't spray pesticides o...
Author: Bird Watcher's Digest
Copyright2010 Bird Watcher's Digest