Build a brush pile. Blustery fall days also tend to knock down tree branches. Use them to build a brush pile that will shelter birds from bad weather and predators.

American tree sparrows, black-capped chickadees, and other winter birds will appreciate the protection from the elements. Rabbits, snakes, and other wildlife also will take refuge there.

(It’s also a great place to dispose of your Christmas tree.)

Skip the chemicals. You might see your neighbors spreading “weed and feed” mixtures in the fall to fertilize their lawns and keep crabgrass at bay. Chemical fertilizers encourage non-native plants to grow, making the space uninhabitable for birds.

Native grasses, shrubs, trees, and flowering plants don’t need chemical fertilizers. Grass clippings and mulched leaf litter provide plenty of plant nutrition.

Hit the nursery. Although laziness is the rule of thumb when it comes to creating a bird-friendly backyard, it’s worth the one-time investment to plant native shrubs and trees that won’t need much tending in the future.

Native dogwoods, hawthorns, sumacs, and other flowering shrubs produce small fruits that not only feed birds during the colder months, but can also provide a welcome pop of color when winter gets drab.

Planted in the right place, evergreens like cedars and firs give birds something to eat and a cozy shelter.

Fall is also a great time to liven up your property with late-blooming perennials such as asters or sages.

To find species suited to your yard, just enter your ZIP code in Audubon’s native plants database.