About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do the same birds show up at the same feeders year after year?

Birds are one of the freest creatures on the planet, able to fly anywhere at anytime with nothing to bind them to any single location. And yet birds, like humans, are creatures of habit and bird banding studies have shown that many of our winter birds, such as Dark-eyed Juncos and native sparrows, utilize the same wintering location year after year.

Dark-eyed Junco
With a potential lifespan of over 10 years, it is likely that the Junco gleaning millet off of the ground below one of your feeders has spent many previous winters as your loyal backyard guest. And recent research shows, that is only half the story!

These birds are not only loyal to a specific location, but also to a single feeder! The study showed that the only time they abandoned their favorite feeder was during periods of cold weather when the feeder was placed in a location too exposed to the wind.

So help your birds stay loyal and warm by locating your feeders in a sheltered location or offer roosting or bird houses.

Once you have prepared a safe and sheltered location, be sure to fill your feeders with the high-energy, high-fat foods that provide your birds with the crucial nutrition they need to survive the coldest month of the year.

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Melinda Copp said...

This is fascinating to know! For the past few winters, a red-shouldered hawk has been hanging around my area of our neighborhood (we live in SC). Just this morning I saw her for the first time this year, and I started wondering if it could really be the same individual. After reading this, I'm pretty sure it is!


Kenneth Gibbons LLC said...

I liked reading the post. Interesting good job. Thanks, Kenneth Gibbons LLC

Lydove2 said...

Yes, and typically House Sparrows but that's due to the bird homes in the back yard. In my family they are referred to as the "Sparrow Family Next Door".
Normally for me Juncos are the messengers of Winter, since snow usually has followed not far behind them for the places I have lived in. :)