Things To Do While Waiting For Autumn Foliage

Hang a Birdfeeder

Birds are colorful and fun to photograph—and a bit difficult, too. They are constantly in motion, wary of humans and can move really fast—in other words, they’re a lot like a kindergarten student with a pint of chocolate Bosco under his belt.

During the summer they gorge on insects, fruit and worms, but after the first hard frost it becomes harder and harder for them to find a meal. Many die. Some resort to washing windshields littered with pigeon droppings while wearing cardboard signs that read “Will sing for seeds.”

You can buy a birdfeeder at a home improvement center for $3.99 (I bought one) although you should budget $25 or more for a durable feeder and one bag of seeds. I usually start with a commercial “wild bird mix” then switch to straight sunflower seeds as the temperature drops. When it’s really frigid we hang a couple cakes of suet on a string. Depending on the birds in your area, you most likely need a different feeding schedule.

Once you start, don’t stop. Birds quickly learn to depend on you, so even when the snow is up to your aspens it’s important to keep the feeders full.

I can’t save the world or end world hunger, but I can—and do—make life bearable a few dozen birds (and collaterally, conniving squirrels) every winter. You can too. Visit your local Audubon Society chapter and they’ll be more than happy to explain how you can help nourish our feathered friends when the snow flies. And you’ll discover some very willing photographic subjects in the process.