Where do you purchase your bird food? On the internet for delivery to your house? From a big box store? From a locally owned store?
While tardy at picking up some pruned branches from a deciduous tree, I discovered the ground feeders really liked eating the seed under the cover of the open branches. The neighborhood cats and hawks could not stalk them as easily, but the birds were able to keep an eye out for predators. I left the loose pile of branches for them until I needed to prep the landscape for some perennials.
Cooper's hawks nest in close proximity of our house, so they are a year round visitor to our yards looking for food. They most often pick off the mourning doves, which breed like rabbits so I don't mind as much as losing the songbirds. I try to provide some cover for the birds, by feeding them under the canopy of low branched shrubs, and providing nearby trees and plants for quick cover. But I am amazed at how crafty the hawks can be.
This is a true story, even though it might sound far-fetched to some. I began noticing the impact prints from morning doves on my kitchen window. Even though the windows are under the cover of a patio, they get smacked by birds sometimes. But three impact prints on the same window within a week, in almost the identical central location, had me scratching my head. That was until I saw one of our hawks in action. It knew just the direction to approach, and the time of day to have the proper reflection, to send the panicked doves flying towards the window. Then it would grab them at the impact zone, and fly away without much contact with the window. I have witnessed, by sound or visually, the same behavior with this style of attack using the sliding glass door and our office window, all on the same side of the house.
It has been a while since it has happened, so that particular hunter might have moved to another area or the timing for the reflection are not idea at this time of the year. Maybe the mourning doves are getting smarter. But with the nearby nesting, we see both the young and the experienced regularly. The hungry young sometimes try chasing the sparrows through the bottlebrush tree. I can only laugh at their futile attempts with that technique. I think it is interesting to watch the behavior of all of the bird species. This is a photo of one of the adults taken last November.