A SEASON OF CHANGE

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For backyard birders everywhere, autumn is one of two seasons relating to change, the other being spring. We put our clocks to rest and rely on nature to tell us that changes are approaching. Listen carefully, do you hear the silence?

Birds generally use songs to announce danger, establish nesting territories or to simply attract a mate. The silence you hear is the end of nesting season and the conclusion of mate selection. Danger lurks everyday, so you may hear it occasionally when cats or hawks are nearby. One certain sound you will hear comes from the geese formations traveling south for the winter.

If you look closer, you will see mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and downy woodpeckers. This only occurs during the cold seasons. Many scientists believe this is due to the “more eyes” theory. Many eyes can find more sources of food and have a greater attention to danger lurking about.

Feeding backyard birds for the fall and winter requires some changes in humans as well. During the spring and summer months, we usually prefer locating our feeding stations near the edge of our properties where trees and shrubs offer shelter for our feathered visitors. We wish to use our yards for human activities such as cookouts, outdoor sports and recreation. By keeping our bird feeders away from our homes, we will not spook our winged guests as they dine near our feeder pole systems or hangars. Everyone is usually very content with this arrangement.

However, during the snow months, keeping the feeders away from our homes can pose a problem. Do you want to shovel through 50 yards of snow in order to get to these bird feeders? Ice and snow can be treacherous for many people, especially the physically challenged. Some of our customers have injured themselves simply trying to fill bird feeders that were situated too far away from their door.

We recommend that you use this autumn season to survey your yard and try to determine a suitable location that will provide the necessary cover for your songbirds and easy access for you. For many, we have just described the deck or patio area of your backyard. For others, it may be the outdoor porch or roof soffit. Either way, think about the amount of snow or ice removal that will be needed before you can fill your bird feeders.

If you are concerned that the chosen location fulfills your requirements but may not offer the required shelter for the birds, we have a simple solution. Go out into the woods now before the snow cover arrives and pick up some large branches that have fallen off the trees. You want ones that are approximately 6-8’ long with many smaller branches coming off the main branch. Tie these along the deck or porch railing, near the feeders but not next to them. By creating this manmade forest, the birds will feel safer coming out into the open area where the bird feeders are now located.

The perfect solution for creating a forest within your deck area is available after the Christmas season is over. Ask your neighbors if you can have their old Christmas trees and tie these along your railing instead of the empty tree branches. These fir trees will usually last throughout the winter season and be a welcomed sanctuary to your songbirds.

Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.

Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve White is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.