Loyal CvilleBuzz reader, Chuck Strauss from Nelson County, sent a recent e-mail about the birds at his feeders, or lack thereof.
Said Chuck, “We have noticed a significant drop-off in birds coming to our feeders—both the window feeder, which has black sunflower seeds, and the big feeder which has regular bird seed. We normally see house- and goldfinches, a cardinal pair, chickadees, nuthatches, and tufted titmice. But for the past month, the only visitors have been a titmouse pair and a chickadee.
Jane and I are wondering if the current drought may have something to do with this. What do you think?”
I am by no means a bird expert, but I spend a lot of time watching birds and their movements. Birds are concerned about 4 things: Food, water, weather and mating. Of the four, one of the most powerful instincts is for water. While they can do without food for a while, birds need water on a regular basis and they will travel long distances to find it.
I asked Chuck if he had a birdbath. He said that he did, but he let nature take its course and fill it with rainfall.
He watered the bath after I addressed that concern.
I also told Chuck that right now, birds have a lot to eat. Seeds are falling and there are lots of insects around. There are not many earthworms, but that will change soon with some cool weather and a drenching rain. Boy, do we need it.
I, too, have noticed bird movements. They come and they go. My bluebird pair, which abandoned my yard after their second nest in late June, disappeared for several months, but now they’re back. They hit the birdbath throughout the day and peck a few sunflower hearts from my feeder,.
They are also poking their beaks in the bird houses, and I think they like the one on the fence. Some folks don’t put up bluebird houses until spring, but the little fellows are shopping around – right now.
Make sure you keep fresh water in your birdbaths and you’ll see lots more birds.