Can't believe how few birds are around ........

catherinet

It's a bit disconcerting not to see birds around.....even when the weather is reasonable.

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱

Although there are a few slow days, they rebound quite nicely here.

tj

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catherinet

I hope they rebound here too. I didn't see any yesterday and none yet this morning. Very strange. Maybe this sudden cold snap keeps them indoors. ;)

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catherinet

The sun was out this morning, and I actually saw a golden-crowned kinglet in the pines. Maybe there's hope. :)


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popmama

I saw a Goldfinch in his winter color this morning. This afternoon, I had several chickadees and sparrows bathing in the water trays that I put out for them. And of course, I have my daily visit from the Eastern blue jays. They come early shrieking for peanuts. I love to watch their antics.

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Old Forester ( Zones 8a-6a ) Ga/NC

One benefit of living in the South, I always have birds. I maintain 6 seed feeders, 2 suet feeders, use quality seed and keep them clean. All are in viewing from my "throne" on the back deck. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see cardinals, jays, bluebirds, wrens, titmice, doves, chickadees, catbirds, mockingbirds, house finches, towhees, goldfinches, white breasted and brown headed nuthatches, thrashers, downy wood peckers, various sparrows and frequently have hawks, owls, and pileated woodpeckers. I have been feeding for 30+ years so I think I'm also on the favored place to rest for quite a few migratories !

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TXSkeeter

This time of year (mid-October thru late November) is always iffy bird wise in my yard. Sometimes there are a LOT of the more common birds like sparrows and house finches and then nothing for several days. I can however, usually count on the Blue Jays to zip by the Frisbee I keep loaded with peanuts on the patio each and every day. As the leaves fall off the trees and bushes, I'll start seeing more Cardinals, Goldfinches, and so on as I add more food/seed selections.

Although I'm pretty sure that I'm one of the few residents in this neighborhood that actually keep out at least one seed feeder year round, after the massive cold front this week, you'd think I had put up a giant blinking sign telling all the local feathered visitors to stay away. I have to assume that for their own protection, most have temporarily moved into better and/or heavier cover since our typical neighborhood has adequate but minimal shrubbery and tree cover while less than a few hundred yards away, there are uncleared wooded and pasture areas.

I did notice that my summer hummingbirds seemed to have migrated south far earlier than usual this year so maybe they DO know more things about the natural world than most give them credit for.

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catherinet

Still very few birds. DH heard 3 great horned owls talking to each other early in the morning the other day. I've heard that if the GHs set up shop around, other varieties of owls are less likely. When we first moved out here 37 years ago, I heard screech owls, but never since. Then barred owls seemed to be the most common for a long time. I love when several of them get going and sound like monkeys in the jungle. One time I heard a young GH owl talking to it's parent, which was pretty cool.

Mostly recently, it's just the great horned that I'm hearing.

Also yesterday and today I saw a brown creeper going round and round a tree by the house. They are pretty cute.

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Pat z5/6 SEMich

I went from a $14/11 lb. mixed bird food to a $21/11 lb. mixed bird food and have more birds than ever before. What a difference $7 makes. So much for trying to cut corners as a senior.

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TXSkeeter

I’m curious as to the material difference between the two mixtures. Different seed mix? An added ingredient in one mix that isn’t in the other mix?????

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Pat z5/6 SEMich

Yes and yes.

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Old Forester ( Zones 8a-6a ) Ga/NC

For what its worth, I go through +- 2 five gallon buckets of seed every month. I have been using Coles brand and Walmarts 3D brand for years. They pretty much eat all the seed. Clean feeders and dry seed are a must for continuous high numbers of birds. My cost of birdseed has risen 30-35% over the last 3 years !

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popmama

I have been backyard feeding for the 20 years I have lived in this house. When I first moved in, this was a brand new development so there were no big trees. Hence, we had no squirrels. But as the trees grew, the squirrel population boomed. I stopped filling the feeders two years ago because the squirrels were just eating it all. They would jump onto the feeder, hang on it, and empty the entire thing in a matter of hours. So, I was down to filling only the the nijer seed feeders for the finches and feeding peanuts to the blue jays which I actually feed them one at a time. Last year, I discovered 100% safflower. The squirrels have zero interest in it and the small birds are happy with it. The only problem I have with it is that it makes a mess. So I fill the feeder, let the birds empty it, then don't fill again for a couple of weeks. The whole squirrel situation makes me crazy.

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Pat z5/6 SEMich

I have feeders hanging from my roof-overhang with 18-inch domes over them to keep the squirrels away. They cannot traverse 18 inch domes. The domes came from Amazon. My other feeders are on shepherds hooks with metal baffles on the hooks. My squirrels have to eat fallen birdfood on the ground. No problem.

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4thumbs

I've been feeding birds forever and they always fed heaviest in the fall as they took food away to tuck in crevices everywhere in anticipation of winter.
This year it didn't happen. In fact, I've seen very few birds all winter.
We live in MA and have been experiencing a strange winter with few birds. So far January has been unusually warm.
Can birds detect something about the climate or the type of winter we'll have that we don't?
My second concern is that I haven't seen my usual regulars such as cardinals, blue jays and have seen a decline in many other species through the years as well.

My yard is organic and all my plantings are oriented toward providing berries throughout the year, but this has never stopped them from visiting my feeders before.

I feed them peanuts along with a mix of sunflower hearts, safflower seeds, and other varieties all birds like so that's not the problem.

What's been your experience this winter regarding this perplexing problem?

I've just never seen anything like this before and am greatly concerned.


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Old Forester ( Zones 8a-6a ) Ga/NC

I have had good success deterring squirrels and coons using Coles brand hot sauce. Spread some peanut butter mixed with hot sauce at the points of access, they soon vacate. Works for usually a month or so before I need to refresh. I tried mixing it with seed but much too messy for me. WARNING: Do not get on skin !!


My bird numbers and species mix still pretty good. Actually seem to have more bluebirds wintering here this year. I have also been impressed with the raptor numbers and frequency. Regularly seeing Coopers, Red tail, Red shouldered hawks and owls.




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Pat z5/6 SEMich

I am in SE Michigan, about 45 miles West of Detroit. I've seen fewer birds for the past 3 years and I attribute it to a loss of many older trees in my area and many more Cooper's Hawks than ever before.

I'm feeding all year around now because I don't want to miss feeding Cardinals in case they decide to go South, and I don't want to miss feeding Rose-breasted Grosbeaks when they go through in Spring/Fall migrations.

We just got about 6 inches of snow dropped on us and I have cleared paths to the feeders, filled them, and threw some on the ground for the squirrels, which I don't normally do since they can eat the seeds that fall on the ground under the feeders. I don't mind the squirrels if they just stay OUT of my feeders. My baffles keep them out but I have discovered that we now have a smaller red squirrel (bigger than a chipmunk) that can hurl itself up onto my baffled feeders, so now I have a new challenge.

With all this new snow, I am getting many more birds than I have all summer and fall put together, so I suspect they have been able to get natural food all along and didn't want my expensive seed. I was trying for only black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) but they seem to really prefer a mix with lots of BOSS included, so I put out for "Kaytee Fruit & Nut" which is available close by. I'm going to add another mix with millet in it soon, just to spread the wealth in the back yard. Front yard I don't want anything with millet because I don't want Doves and House Sparrows, but I do want Native American Sparrows in the back. Control freaks like me never learn even if they're old as dirt.

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4thumbs

The only feeder that keeps squirrels away, other than the square, house-like feeders that have weighted perches, is the Droll Yankees Dipper Squirrel Proof feeder as in this picture. There are three versions, but I'd avoid the style with the battery-operated perch that swirls them around because it loses its ability to hold a charge over time. The ones that have perches are sensitive enough that large birds like starling are also unable to land without the perch throwing them off.

They're quite pricey in the $100 range, but I positively guarantee that a squirrel has never

been able to master this one.

By the time you spend on cheaper models, you will find that all those feeders will have cost you this much anyway.

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