September can be a quiet month for garden birds. The breeding season is over for most species, some birds are moulting and there is still an abundance of wild food for birds to use. With so many nuts, seeds and fruits in wild areas, some birds may prefer to stay away from our gardens. However, there are plenty of species to keep an eye out for.
So what can garden birds can I see from September?
After the August lull, we can expect to see a slight increase in bird activity in our gardens. Young birds born this summer will be making their way south and can make some surprise appearances in our gardens. Keep an eye out for warblers, like Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, who may use our feeders to stock up before long journeys. Those with ponds may also be visited by Grey Wagtails. Young birds will be seeking out their own territory or wintering spot, and can pop into gardens when on this search. Their bright yellow underside and flicking tail often betray their presence.
Tits begin to form large mixed flocks, with different species banding together. These flocks will make the most of suet balls and you can sometimes see large numbers, even several dozen, passing through our gardens. Great Tits, Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits make up most of the numbers, but they can be joined by Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Treecreepers.
Great Tits Blue Tits Long-Tailed Tits
Chiffchaffs Goldcrests Treecreepers
What other birds can I spot?
Though some will breed through to October, some House Martins will be winding their way south and when needing to rest will often use our rooftops. Looking out for large groups of House Martins, there are often a mix of adults and juveniles in the evening as they look for somewhere to alight.
Many of our summer migrants will have gone or be on their way out, but by the end of September, our winter migrants will start to arrive back. The first Redwings, Fieldfares and Bramblings will be seen, particularly along the east coast. Numbers will become more noticeable by October but if we see strong north-easterly winds, more may be pushed through earlier.
Redwings Fieldfares Bramblings
While some birds are preparing to migrate, more sedentary species are getting ready in different ways. Coal Tits and Jays create stores of food, mainly nuts and seeds, for the cold months ahead. This is when Jays are easiest to observe as they can make constant journeys between sources of acorns and a preferred site for hiding them. In lean years with few acorns on the trees, they will often turn their attention to garden peanuts instead.
Which of these wonderful birds will you manage to spot in your garden from now to the end of the year?
What to Feed
- If you are new to feeding birds, you can choose a ‘year round’ bird food. This is suitable for all seasons and all popular garden birds. Peckish Complete Seed Mix has 12 varieties of high energy seeds and nuts and will attract a wide range of birds. It also features our new paper packaging!
- If you are keen to attract a specific type of bird, there are specific foods available. For example, a Blue Tit Seed Mix blended with fruit, nuts and insects, high in energy with added Calvita® vitamin mix for more colourful birds in the garden.
How to Feed
- You will know how much food to put out based on how much is left. If the food is taking days to be eaten, simply reduce the amount you put out
- Use several feeding stations to reduce the amount of birds feeding in one spot
- If you use a feeding table, make sure to keep it clean
- Use a ground feeding tray if you prefer to place food on the ground . Just remember to remove any leftover food before nightfall to prevent attracting unwanted visitors
- Avoid putting feeders under garden features where birds may perch or roost
If you would like to learn more about understanding birds, in particular about changing bird populations visit the charity – British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)