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This is a common question I get throughout the year but Especially in the winter. So lets talk about Birds of Prey.

This week I was enjoying watching between 50-70 Goldfinches and Pine Siskins devour my Nyjer and Hearts that I put out daily. I figure they eat about 8lbs of it a day. That’s a Lot but so amazing to watch. Then all of the sudden it seems as though they are only going through about 2 lbs a day and I feel like I hardly see them anymore. I looked outside yesterday and I saw a Coopers Hawk sitting in a tree about 25 ft away from my feeders. He sat there for over an hour just watching……Then it dawned on me. This is why my bird feeders have been empty for the last week. So I did some research and this is what I found out.

Birds of Prey are very hungry during the winter.

Even if you don’t see them they could still be there. Now that I know I have one I can see him daily camouflaged in my trees just sitting and waiting for hours. Eating everything from the neighborhood cat to mice to songbirds!! Here are a few ways to protect your backyard birds from these birds of prey without causing harm or stress to the birds of prey.

Provide Shelter.

Dense trees, shrubbery and brush piles!! These should be placed within 10 feet of the bird feeders so that small birds can fly for cover if needed. Choose landscaping that
can also feed your birds such as plants that provide seeds or fruit.

Shield Feeders.

Put your feeders in covered areas like under awnings, gazebos, canopies or lower tree branches that will prevent the hawks from being able to see. Sometimes just doing this temporarily will help. Covered platform feeders can also help with shielding the birds from aerial views. If things get really bad you can bring feeders in for a few days and the birds of prey will be forced to move on.

Caged Feeders help as well.

This will allow small birds to get food without hawks being able to reach them. This will not stop the smaller birds panicking at the approach of a hawk but it will give them time to flee while slowing the hawk down.

Protect your Windows.

Use Window Alert Decals to prevent window collisions. When the bird of prey attacks, small birds will mistakenly fly into the window and a stunned bird is easy prey unfortunately.

It is important to remember that birds of prey are only playing their role in nature’s cycle. They do not kill more birds than they need to survive. In fact studies estimate that only 10 percent of a hawk’s kills are successful. Out of that 10 percent the majority of the birds they take are weak, old or sick and removing them from the flock will help strengthen the remaining birds.

All of Us here at For The Wild Birds at 84th and Frederick want to wish each and every one of you and your families a very very blessed and Merry Christmas and a Fabulous New Year! Love, Crinda, Marilyn, Grant, Roz, Patrick, Rhea and the furry Pups Chocolate, Alice, Bob and Nina.

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