Feeder birds are dependent upon steady quantities of high-quality foods during this time. Since snow often covers the ground, your feeder will become the main source of food for many birds. Pine Siskins, Redpolls, and Evening Grosbeaks are unusual northern finches which might frequent your feeder. Near the end of the season, feeder birds might become restless. As the days get longer, the beginning of breeding season is in sight.
Shifts in bird population take place at this time. The Tufted Titmouse and the Downy Woodpecker, permanent residents of most areas, will stay through the season. New birds appear daily as they migrate north, especially the sparrows. This is the time when sparrow migration is in full swing. There is an increase in nest building during these spring months, and the provision of nesting materials will persuade more birds to nest in your vicinity.
Warblers, vireos, flycatchers, orioles, and tanagers migrate North. Most of these insect-eating birds will not visit your feeder, but they will eat the caterpillars and insects in your yard. If trees and shrubbery are mature enough, some might stay to nest.
Most birds are now busy raising young and feeding on the abundant natural foods available. Many berry-producing plants are carrying heavy loads of fruit which attract birds. Commercial bird seeds can be used, but avoid suet, as it will turn rancid in the heat. Many bird watchers enjoy feeding hummingbirds in these summer months. These cocky little birds will come within inches of your window to feed from pans of sugar water.
With the breeding season over, activity will increase at your feeder. Sparrows and woodpeckers become abundant, and insect-eating warblers and vireos will visit your yard on their return trip to the tropics. By providing feeder grains and suet, you might persuade birds that would normally go farther south to stop here for the winter. Set your pace for winter feeding at this time and continue it through spring. In this manner, you will avoid food shortages for the birds which depend on you.
Myrtle Warblers and Yellow-Shafted Flickers are lingering migrants that might use your feeder. If there is a heavy snow, sprinkle seed under the shrubbery and make sure the feeders are cleared and usuable. They are vital during a snowstorm. Save your used Christmas tree and collect others from neighbors. These make brushpiles which provide excellent shelter during the remaining winter months.