September is a month that is generally full of all kinds of changes. Notably, children are going back to school and the days are quickly getting shorter and cooler.
Autumn is definitely in the air and I know I have already been witness to the geese starting to gather and fly in their typical V-formation.
Birds that have spent the better part of the summer in the north are preparing themselves for the long trek back to their southern winter spots. But, and here's the important part, it is a long way for them to go and they need our help.
Typically we are all familiar with the Geese that make their way to the south, but there are a host of other birds that also migrate. According to Cornell Labs there are about 650 species of birds in North American and about half of those are migratory.
Why do they migrate? Most of these birds leave their resting places to move north to their breeding grounds. This is hard work for the birds, but instincts make them do this perilous journey at least twice a year.
Many of us wait eagerly for those pretty little hummingbirds that make their way to the north and we do fill our feeders with sugar water to satisfy their hunger. But in September, you might just notice that those feeders are being visited more often. Even though there are plenty of flowers for them to feed on, they know they will be making a long trek soon. They are filling up their reserves for that journey. So please don't stop filling your hummingbird feeders just yet.
Most North American songbirds are migratory. Yet there are other bigger birds that also move from the north to the south in the cooler autumn months.
Let's concern ourselves with the smaller birds for now. How can you help them?
- Keep your feeders full of good nutritious seeds is the first way to help.
- Make sure there is a good clean source of water for them too. All that flying around is hard work.
- Gardeners, please leave your seed heads in place! Don't clean up your garden just yet! Migratory birds love sunflowers, but will also eat seeds from other plants as well. A natural garden will attract those little birds quite nicely.
Learning about these migratory birds and what their needs are will make them happy to stop at your yard for some refreshment and food.
Bird migration happens twice a year, yet we never seem to get tired of seeing our favorite birds making their way to us in spring time and then leaving us again come autumn. Let's help them as much as we can by being a safe and bird friendly place for them to stop and refuel. It doesn't take much effort, and you will enjoy the beauty of those little creatures as they make their way south!
Birdwatching is a hobby that you will keep at for years and years. Start small and see how much enjoyment you get from seeing with your own eyes, the birds that make these treks across miles and miles. Start your list and add to it as you become accustomed to finding these little winged creatures.
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