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Sunday, October 21, 2012

How birds check out an unfamiliar bird feeder

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Before landing on a feeder that's not totally familiar to them (like a new one), a bird will land on a nearby branch (within about 5 - 8 feet), and watch it for a while, taking a good look. Some things that tell birds to go elsewhere are if the feeder's empty (OBVIOUSLY), if it's exposed to aerial attack by another bird (like a hawk), if a cat is hanging around, or if there's no escape route within a foot or so (if a predator suddenly appears the bird must escape quickly into dense vegetation), or if there's a lot of noise and human activity.

If there's no nearby branch to land on, the feeder won't be thought of as "safe" until next season when the bird will go through the very same inspection process.

Owen Yost & Nancy Collins
PROPER BIRDWATCHING ATTIRE   Small birds are scared away by even the slightest hint of danger. So wearing certain clothing is a tactic to see more birds, not to look stylish. Many birds of prey (hawks for instance) have white stomachs and/or breasts. So a smaller bird quickly leaves the area when he sees anything that's moving and white. Maybe you could be a huge hawk!

Try wearing dark green, blue, black, brown or grey instead. (Of course if you're inside, looking through a window, color doesn't matter. But glare does.)


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