[CT Birds] Where Have They Gone?

COMINS, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Sat Oct 10 10:39:33 EDT 2009

I get inquiries about this nearly every year at this time, but this year the phenomenon is particularly widespread.  There is normally at least a little bit of a lull in feeder activity in the early fall because of the abundance of natural food sources available at this time of year.  Rather than put themselves at risk from hawks and cats by being at a predictable location (your feeder), which can be akin to an African watering hole where lions leopards and crocodiles await the thirsty wildebeests, birds will spread out and take advantage of the abundant wild seeds, berries, insects and nuts that are available.  This combined with a lull between departures of some of our summer residents (grosbeaks, Chipping Sparrows, hummingbirds, even Blue Jays) and the arrival of our winter feeder birds (White-throated Sparrows, juncos, other Blue Jays) can make for a bit of a slow time.  This year, a combination of a very lush spring and summer and an especially good mast years for acorns, hickory nuts and some cones means that there is even more food than usual around.  My standard response is to tell folks to use this opportunity to clean out their feeders and get them ready for the winter crowds.  Reinforcements arrive with every cold front.  It may take until the first frost, or maybe even the first snow, but the birds will be back.  While there are declining populations of many species of birds, feeder birds are generally doing OK, with perhaps two exceptions, Purple Finch and Evening Grosbeak.


Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation
Audubon Connecticut
pcomins at audubon.org


Audubon Center at Bent of the River
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury,  CT 06488
Phone:  (203)264-5098 x305
or 203-267-6732 x305
Fax: (203)264-6332

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