Should I stop feeding birds in fall so they can start their migration?

Yellow, black and white birds eating seeds from a pumpkin feeder.
There is no reason to take your feeders down to encourage birds to migrate. They will also be a welcome resource for birds arriving from the North like these Evening Grosbeak. Photo by Linda Goodman via Birdshare.

Keeping your feeders up has no influence on whether a bird will start its journey south. A number of factors trigger the urge for birds to migrate, and the most significant one is day length. As days grow shorter in late summer, birds get restless and start to head south, taking advantage of abundant natural food, and feeders where available, to fuel their flight.

Many people ask specifically about hummingbirds and fall feeding. These little birds are no different from others and will migrate regardless of whether feeders are kept up. However, we encourage people to keep feeders up for several weeks after the last hummingbird leaves the area, just in case a straggler shows up in need of additional energy before completing the long journey south. Check here for more questions and answers about hummingbirds.

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