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A White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) on a bird feeder.
A White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) on a bird feeder. / Joel Sartore/Getty Images

If you’ve set up a bird feeder in your backyard for your own pleasure, for conservation reasons or to strengthen your bond with nature, Deborah L. Martin offers oodles of tips in her book, Secrets of Backyard Bird-Feeding Success.

As fall migration approaches, “all the birds that migrate, whether just a short distance or as far as Central or South America, have to bulk up to sustain themselves on their journey,” Martin writes. “Visits to feeders will then suddenly pick up, as the birds’ hormones start making their metabolism increase, and they begin to accumulate a lot of fat.”

Among her tips for fall feeding:

Replenish supplies.

The summer may have depleted your stock of seed and suet, so be on the lookout for stock-up sales at your local bird supply store.

Give fresh water.

Keep birdbaths clear of fallen leaves and replenish them with fresh water to serve your regular customers as well as any migrant birds that happen to stop by for refueling.

Go native.

Look for nursery sales of native plants, which will attract native insects, another source of food for birds.

Secure supplies.

Store birdseed in metal containers to protect it from rodents that may move indoors in cold weather.

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