Now that fall bird migration is in full swing, it’s time to make sure your feeder fillers meet the needs of your fine-feathered friends.

As soon as cold weather approaches, switch your feeder menu to a hearty, high-calorie diet by following this checklist:

  • Stock up on basic seeds, plus seed specialties. You’ll host plenty of large and small seedeaters this winter, so be ready!
  • Put out a generous supply of suet and other fats, which are literal lifesavers when temps dip below freezing.
  • Try mealworms and other insect foods to attract some unusual birds, such as that neighborhood mockingbird that’s decided to stick it out instead of moving south.

Want to feed the birds, but don’t have a feeder? Grab a bagel instead! Sturdy bagels make perfect hanging feeders, accessible to chickadees, titmice, Carolina wrens, and other clinging birds. Here’s a terrific recipe that’ll give ‘em some added nutrition with oil-rich extras:

2 bagel halves
1 commercial block of pure suet
½ cup of chopped walnuts
¼ cup of sunflower chips (hulled seeds)
2 short lengths of string or wire

Spread the suet on the cut side of each bagel half. Sprinkle the walnuts and sunflower chips on top, and press them into the suet with the back of a spoon. Hang the bagels from loops of string or wire attached to a hook.

For more tips, tricks, and treats that’ll have your fine-feathered friends flocking to your neck of the woods, check out my Backyard Bird Feeding Bonanza book—FREE for 21 days! It’s filled with terrific ideas so you can enjoy a beautiful, bird-filled yard.