[Tweeters] Bird behavior around predators

Rob Sandelin floriferous at msn.com
Mon Dec 20 09:27:57 PST 2004

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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