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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What does it mean when you see a bird on your porch at night

My cat was so excited last night because we had a brown finch spend the night in the corner of our porch right next to the sliding glass door. Was there something I should have done for the bird? It was gone in the morning. - Milford, Michigan

Birds look quickly for a spot to roost as the sun goes down.
It's best to let sleeping birds lie. There are a lot of new birds out there in late summer. Inexperienced birds have some inborn knowledge but there are also some things that have to be learned through trial and error. It’s not unusual to find birds early in the morning asleep on a feeder or maybe behind a nearby flower pot.

After juvenile finches become independent, they form large flocks that congregate at food sources. Scientist thought they also roosted together at night. However recent field work done by the Bird Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology revealed that wasn’t true.

Researchers attached radio transmitters to nine groups of House Finches in Ithaca, New York, to help locate the birds at their roosts. They found the birds didn’t have large permanent roosts. Their nighttime layovers were temporary and seemed to be located wherever a finch happened to be foraging at the time.

If you watch your feeders in the evening you'll notice that when the sun goes down, most birds find shelter quickly in nearby bushes, but one bird might decide the corner of the porch is a secure enough retreat.

Related Articles:
House Finch feeding his baby http://goo.gl/g4svn
House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://goo.gl/5GF8h
Do Birds Sleep Standing Up? http://goo.gl/Z06Nq