"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No birds at your feeders? A hawk could be the reason.

A Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawk taken in Mission Viejo. Photo by J.J. Meyer
     If you've ever wondered why you're not seeing birds at your feeders, a hawk could be the reason.  I heard a Bewick's Wren let out a high-pitched warning the other day.  At that second all the birds in the yard headed for the bushes.  That's when I saw the hawk.  It was hard for me to get a good photo of this predator at the top of the tree at dusk, but you get the idea.  The photo was taken in my neighbor's front yard.  From there the hawk had a view through my side yard to the feeders.  It's no wonder my birds have been scarce.  
     There are other reasons why birds may be avoiding your feeders.  Birds are persnickety and will refuse old, wet or moldy seed.  Be sure to clean your feeders with a 10 percent bleach solution at least once a month and replace old seed.  See "Clean feeders keep birds coming back" listed under my Register columns.
    Another reason your feeders may be empty is that birds such as American Goldfinches roam widely in flocks in search of food and have been recorded moving more than four miles between multiple feeding stations in a single day.  The good news is that the birds will eventually return.
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    Happy birding!

1 comment:

  1. I was sitting out in our backyard which overlooks Serrano Creek/Park and out of nowhere a hawk swooped in flying right past me and all the birds scattered as fast as they could. It even scared me! I never saw him coming until he was in our backyard. Guess birds should always have a scout!