How to Attract Migrating Birds
We recently attended the Boston Local Food Festival which was a fun event, and great exposure for our product. One of our booth visitors asked me an interesting question I had not considered: How do I attract migrating birds? I didn’t have a readily available answer, but promised her that I would research and write a blog post about the topic as I found it intriguing.
The short answer is: Make your backyard as inviting to birds as possible. There’s no one, go-to tip for attracting migrating birds specifically. There are, however several tactics that can increase your chances of seeing these birds and accommodating their travel needs.
First the basics:
- Stock your bird baths with fresh, clean water. Moving water (bubbling, dripping) is a plus.
- Stock your feeders with fresh, clean bird food.
- Spread birdseed (and millet) on the ground, for those birds unable to feed from an elevated feeder.
- Put out suet (this one is our favorite) as it contains the fat and nutrients birds need for their long journey.
There are then a few specific things that will help birds on a journey.
- Provide shelter by postponing fall cleanup, and create brush piles that offer coverage and safety for visiting birds.
- Keep your nectar or sugar feeder out longer for hummingbirds, and Orioles who pass through on their way to warmer temperatures.
- Be consistent. Migrating birds will return to the same areas to feed on their journey. If those disappear, they will have difficulty finding a new feeding/rest location.
- Double up on your feeder. Birds flocking will appreciate having the extra room to stop and feed.
- Turn off the lights! Artificial lights can confuse and disorientate migrating birds.
- Long term: Choose native plants that offer food and shelter for birds in your region.
Further reading: Here’s a great article for those in Texas, or other southern states who are on the “other end” of the Fall migration journey.
**Update** – I posted this question to the /r/birding subreddit on Reddit.com and got some great responses!