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 22, 2017

Missing birds

Before vacation we were filling our feeders twice a day. Now we’ve been back for over a week, and the feeders are full but the birds are missing. Will they eventually return and if so, when?

They’ll probably return to your feeders when there is bad weather and it is less efficient to forage.

Right now birds all over America are migrating or establishing winter grounds. Young birds like House finches, chickadees and titmice find new territories to hook up with other young birds at the end of summer and join local adults to form winter flocks.

During this transition time your feeder may be overwhelmed with birds one week and empty the next week. With all the natural seed and fruit around, birds may take note of your feeders but look for other sources just in case. Birds don’t depend on feeders to survive which is good because some people aren’t dependable.

You can also go through a little check list to eliminate the most obvious reasons for fewer birds at the feeders.

1. Make sure your seed is fresh. One way to do this is to crush your seed on a piece of paper and see if any oil comes out. When birds are molting, migrating or battling the weather 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. Clean your feeders at least once a month. Make sure there is no mold in the bottom of your feeder. This can be dangerous to the birds. 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 for a short time.4. Look at the weather. During years where there are more seeds, fruits, nuts and berries produced naturally you'll have less birds than during years where there are droughts and poor crops.

Just be patient and I'm sure the birds will put you back in the feeder visit rotation.

Related Articles:
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/umlwXg
Prepare Your Yard for Fall Bird Feeding: http://bit.ly/pkJUmW
Do I need to clean my bird feeder?: http://bit.ly/nYKz40
Best foods for birds in winter http://bit.ly/6fkng
How long does bird seed stay fresh? http://bit.ly/tRYvG9

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