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.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fewer cardinals at feeders

Where are the cardinals?

With the abundance of fruit and nuts the trees produced this year along with the mild fall and winter so far, birds are finding it easier to forage for food naturally. It's estimated that only about 20% of a backyard bird's daily energy intake comes from feeders and because we haven’t had a lot of snowfall in mid-Michigan, there still might be a lot of natural food sources available.

Cardinals are often the first to visit a feeder in the morning and the last to stop by and grab a bite at night. You can listen for their “chip, chip, chip” calls to each other just before the sun rise and sets.

Also this year we've had no major bird irruptions. According to Ontario Field Ornithologist Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast, several bird species will stay in Canada for the whole winter. You can read the full 2015-2016 Winter Finch Forecast at: WINTER FINCH FORECAST.

Other things to check if you don’t have birds at your feeders:
1. Make sure your seed is fresh. One way to do this is to pinch the seed with your fingernails on a piece of white paper and see if any oil comes out. On cold days where every meal counts, if your seed has dried out your feeder will be skipped. (Wild Birds Unlimited receives a fresh load of seed each week).

2. Make sure there is no mold in the bottom of your feeder. This can be dangerous to the birds and they will avoid your feeder again. To prevent mold in bad weather use Feeder Fresh™ (a silica grit that absorbs water and humidity, is safe for birds, and made from non-toxic absorbent sand). You can also shelter your feeder from the elements by using something like WBU Weather Guard.
3. Look for predators. Hawks or cats can deter birds from feeding in your area.

You'll probably notice that the bird activity will increase at the next storm when winter may finally arrive.
Related articles:
Feeder Fresh: Prevent your seed from becoming moldy http://bit.ly/vLY9jU
Will the hawk eat all my birds? http://bit.ly/v3XkTF
Millions of Birds Die Each Year at the Hands of Mr. Puddy Tat http://bit.ly/tG9cXO
Can birds predict the weather? http://bit.ly/txkFqX

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