Dear Bird Folks,
What is going on? I’m not getting many birds at my feeders anymore. Has something happened to the birds?
– Richard, Harwich
Something has happened to the birds. It’s called migration. Many of the birds have gone south with all the other sissies who can’t handle our new England winters. We get this same question every December. How can you not know about migration? Am I the only person who watches the Dsicovery Channel?
Not all birds head south, but the birds that do leave a huge supply of natural food behind for the birds that stay here. December is a month of very little snow cover and lots of natural food. Many birds are simply taking a break from our feeders and chowing down some of the weed seeds and berries that aren’t available to them at other times of the year. In addition, we have a number of small hawks that hang out in our yards this time of year. A visit from one of these hawks can cause birds to seek other food sources until the hawk moves on. Also, many people who don’t feed birds year round put their feeders out this time of year.
The combination of hawks, more natural food, fewer birds and more available feeders, adds up to a temporary shortage of birds at some feeders. But the key word, Richard, is temporary. As the winter wears on, the birds will return to your yard. In the meantime, turn off “Oprah” and check out the Discovery Channel. The gossip ain’t as good, but you’ll learn some cool stuff.