[Tweeters] Bird behavior around predators

Nancy nelrjb at comcast.net
Mon Dec 20 09:56:11 PST 2004

I have been watching my feeders daily and have noticed periods of a total absence of birds, while minutes before they were filled with birds. The absensces last about 15-20 minutes. I have gone out and looked and listened for hawks but seen none at the times the feeders are absent of birds.
But we have had recently sightings of a bald eagle, sharpie, red tail and coopers in our yard. The feeders are not void of birds when the hawks are in sight. So, I cannot figure out why the birds disappear from those observations. I do not think my observations are scientific enough to make any conclusions, however.

Nancy Lander
Renton, WA.
----- Original Message -----
From: Rob Sandelin
To: 'tweeters'
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 9:27 AM
Subject: [Tweeters] Bird behavior around predators

I just read an interesting article about one of the subtle affects of returning wolves to Yellowstone which has been to make elk change their behaviors. The elk do not go into certain places to forage, and they forage differently because of wolves. J. vbonham's post about the return of birds to a feeder and their behavior makes me wonder if birds also have a behavioral change when predators are around. Do they forage differently, or less. Do they flock together more?
There are often gaps in bird abundance at my feeder. One minute there are dozens of birds all around, a bit later there are none to be seen. We do have regular flybys by Coopers Hawks, but it is rare that I can actually account for a hawks presence and feeder birds absence.

A neighbor mentioned that she almost never gets birds at her feeder although her feeder has almost no cover of any kind around it, while mine has quite a bit of cover. Do birds choose feeders based on some criteria? How could you measure this?

Rob Sandelin who is full of quiestions today

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