|Cedar waxwings who will be migrating soon!|
While we have still been enjoying some summer-like days, I am sure you have felt some of fall's crispness in the air on others. Just as we are beginning to turn our minds to weather changes to come, our wildlife is also preparing. In fact, my resident chipmunk has been sporting seed-filled jowls quite regularly the past few weeks. Birds are already migrating to their winter homes. During this migration period, we all have a chance to see birds that we do not normally see in the area. This is a great time of year to go on a bird walk--many of which are offered through the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
If you are trying to determine the types of birds that may be migrating through or from your area, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an amazing resource called BirdCast. BirdCast has amazing detail letting you know which birds are coming into your area, which are leaving, peak departure time, last species members to depart and more. Quite an amazing resource! The National Wildlife Federation has a few tips in Bird-Watching: Making the Most of Migration. About Birding has a collection of resources for Autumn Birding. These are a few great resources that will help prepare you for birding during this season and will be great for referring to in the future.
For birding in your backyard, you do want to be sure to have adequate food available. My friends over at The Wildbird Shack in Mount Prospect have a good deal going to help you stock up on bird seed for now. Plus, don't forget to feed the birds that stay over winter too! What I love about the program is you save the more bags you buy BUT you do not need to take all of the bags at one time. You can come and pick up the fresh bags when you need them but still benefit from the discount. The discount works like this:
Suet is very important for birds in the winter. Fortunately, The Wildbird Shack has a suet program as well. With suet, you do need to take the suet you purchase at time of purchase. Here is the discount structure: