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Blackcap (Sylvia Atricapilla)

Feeding Garden Birds in Autumn

November 18, 2020

After the quieter period of late summer and early autumn, it starts to get busier in the garden! For avid birdwatchers Autumn can be an exciting time of the year. The last summer visitors are still departing while the first winter immigrants arrive. The combination of migrant and resident birds offers great potential for surprises in the garden.

Many birds are still feeding in the wider countryside, taking advantage of natural fruits and seeds, but foraging in towns, suburbs and villages will be on the increase as hungry birds look for vital new sources of food to help survive the colder months.

What To Look For This Autumn

Tit flocks are one of the more obvious features of Autumn. With family parties of Long-tailed Tits banding together in search of food, they pick up other birds along the way which usually include Blue and Great Tits and the occasional Coal Tit. If they do visit your garden, well-stocked feeders and fat balls may encourage them to pause and feed; try counting how many of each species you can see, and look out for birds such as Chiffchaff or Goldcrest which might have tagged along.

Finches will also be more noticeable now, along with our resident species such as the Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch, the first winter finches may also appear – Siskins and Lesser Redpolls are now more likely in gardens, especially those which also have Alder and Birch trees. Niger seed is always a firm favourite of the Finch family and will help attract them to your garden.

Distinguishing some of our feathered friends can at times be tricky so here is a tip, study closely any green/yellow finches carefully as they may well be either female Siskins or young Goldfinches (Goldfinches have blacker wings with yellow).

Getting Ready For Autumn Bird Feeding

Now that the nights are longer and the days are colder, our garden birds need all the help they can get to survive.

In the coming months, you may start to see more Blackbirds and Thrushes, which you can try attracting to your garden with mealworms and High Energy Autumn & Winter Mix. Let’s also not forget the nation’s favourite, the Robin, who will always be enthused to visit you with sunflower hearts, suet pellets, fat balls and suet blocks and mealworms. Robins quickly get used to human presence and become very friendly, they start to appear on schedule if you regularly re- stock your feeders and tables regularly, sometimes they will even feed from your hand!

Remember, it's always a good idea to keep your feeders well stocked up so that the birds know where they can go to get food.  This can be essential for their survival during the colder months.

Birds to Look Out For This Autumn



You may be lucky enough to see some interesting bird species in your garden this Autumn, as well as the ‘usual bunch’. Here are some of the birds you may be lucky enough to see!

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  1. How can I prevent crows descending on the fatballs & suet blocks in numbers & quickly destroying them, leaving nothing for our smaller feathered friends?

  2. Sadly I might have to forego autumn/ winter feeding as rats have taken over the garden and are attracted by the seeds spilled by the birds. The worst feeder for this is the otherwise highly thought-of Squirrel Buster. Too many seeds spill out into the small circular tray, and with each sunflower seed eaten, 5 others land on the ground below.. I have no idea what can be done about this – do you?

  3. I found the article very interesting and helpful , and I provide my birds with the seeds etc they like, BUT unfortunately rats have appeared and my neighbours are not too happy with me feeding the birds. Any suggestions please? Traps are down .

  4. We have a pair of nuthatches that visit our feeders every few minutes. We live north of Glasgow where they don’t really breed!

  5. I have lots of feeders that are usually busy I have even covered a table with logs and scattered different food about I keep allthe feedrs cleand a havwe different ones but …at the moment for some reason I am not seeing as many birds as I normally do Why ?

    Also i put out hedgehog food into a a covered plastic box made from the fat balls containers and they are gone the next day but How do \\i know if its hedgehogs or something else? when do hedgehogs hibinate? I have also a hedgehog house I have had for a few years but nso far nothing can you please give me some advice as to where is the best place for it and where to feed the hedgehog if its still around thank you

    margaret dobson

  6. All I’m getting at the moment are magpies and squirrels – one of each. I let the feeders run out as wasn’t well. Last week, washed all the feeders and refilled them – suet balls, suet cakes, pellets, peanuts, coconut halves. All back in usual place. And cleared the dead leaves from the water bowls. One happy squirrel!

  7. How should I pronounce N I G E R is it 2Knee jeer” or Nig as in NIGel Mansell??
    [allstarted when an old mate snorted and told me “just put out the above seeds and the goldfinches will appear.
    How right he was!
    BUT the seeds do come in small and large varieties???