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.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Did you notice a lot of birds at the feeder before the storm hit?

Before the storm rolled through mid-Michigan on Tuesday I noticed the birds' frenzied attack on the food in the feeders. Could they predict that tornado-like winds were about to hit?

Most birds have a special middle-ear receptor called the Vitali organ, which can sense incredibly small changes in barometric pressure. So if the activity at feeders suddenly becomes much more intense a storm may be approaching. Birds flying low or lining up on power lines also indicate swiftly falling air pressure.

The small birds like chickadees fly as little as possible and try to wait out storms in patches of dense vegetation or roosting boxes that give protection. And they appreciate feeders.

During storms birds may think of your feeder as a known source of food. While not dependent on feeders, birds don't feel like foraging for food in bad weather. Feeders make it easier for wild birds to brave a storm.

Today even though the storms are gone the high winds make flying difficult. I’m watching some birds that seem to be flying in place, while other birds like the Blue Jays seem to be able to navigate and take advantage of the wind. They zoom in at the feeder like a bullet.

I love when the wind blows but know it is hard on the birds, so I keep the feeders full. If they can navigate it to the feeder, they deserve a good meal.

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