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Out with Summer Visitors and looking out for Winter Arrivals

September 11, 2018
Migrating Barnacle Geese in Flight

Officially autumn, September is a month of change for birds in our gardens. With their annual moult completed most are looking brand new and fresh in the feathers that will carry them through the winter ahead. Most of our summer-visiting birds are on the move this month as they begin to think about heading south. Migration isn't just something that happens on Springwatch, it's a great time to catch up with migration in action and to start preparing your garden for winter feeding.


Migration, the movement of summer visiting birds from their breeding sites to wintering sites, is happening all around your garden and can be fun to observe if you know what to look for. Check out our top five tips for sniffing out some migration in your garden during September!

Get Fruity!

Many summer visitors like warblers love autumn fruit such as blackberries and elderberries so keep an eye out on any parts of the garden that have berries for Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, and Whitethroats.


And if you don't have any fruit-bearing plants in your garden, you can always tempt the birds with our fruity suet balls - birds of all sizes go crazy for these as they prepare for winter.

Look Up!

Larger species such as Common Buzzards and Ospreys soar high on warm days and often pass overhead without being noticed. It's always worth glancing up, especially on warm days - just don't lean too far back in your chair!


Quiet Nights!

By the end of September thousands of Redwings and Fieldfares (thrushes from Scandinavia) will be arriving during the night. Redwings frequently call to each other to keep in touch when flying in the dark and these calls can often be heard on quiet nights in the garden.

Migrating Barnacle Geese in Flight

Noisy Mornings!

Whilst filling the feeders in your garden in the morning, listen for passing geese.


Thousands of Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese begin to arrive for the winter and often move overland in the early morning calling loudly.

Now You See Them, Now You Don't!

Watch out for departing summer insect eaters like Swallows and House Martins, when will you see the last one? One day they are here and the next they're gone.


Don't forget all the resident garden birds in September though - it's a great month to clean up your feeders and bird table before the winter. Replace any broken or damaged feeders, remove old nests from nest boxes and start to put out a little food for all those new young birds charging around looking for somewhere to spend the winter - who knows they may decide to stay close to your garden the whole winter!

Select Bird Station

Feeding regularly with a little food helps your local birds know where to come if the weather turns bad in winter but do make sure food is kept fresh and any unused food disposed of after a few days.

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