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Tue May 19, 2020, 08:17 PM

Starting 6th week of isolation...and I have 2 questions to ponder, regarding birds.

(1) What attracts birds to birdfood? Smell? Food energy and brain-processing (lightwaves)? Other birds? Anyone have any ideas. Talking regular wild birdseed.....

(2) Sitting on my back porch tonight, I heard what I think was a game/ground bird creating attention/looking for a mate.

The sound lasts about 10 seconds. Starts off as a singular, very muffled low freq sound, then amps up to a very repetitive muffled sound. Like cranking up a lawn mower with an oversized muffler, before it dies out. Don't think it's a turkey, but thinking it might be grouse. Seen a couple on the property over the past few weeks....

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Reply Starting 6th week of isolation...and I have 2 questions to ponder, regarding birds. (Original post)
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot May 2020 #1
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #2
SWBTATTReg May 2020 #3
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #4
KY_EnviroGuy May 2020 #9
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #10
sarge43 May 2020 #5
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #6
sarge43 May 2020 #15
N_E_1 for Tennis May 2020 #7
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #8
The Velveteen Ocelot May 2020 #11
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #12
KY_EnviroGuy May 2020 #13
OAITW r.2.0 May 2020 #14

Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:20 PM

1. I have often wondered, but I suspect it's visual.

If I refill a bird feeder it usually is a matter of minutes before they start showing up. The goldfinches are usually first. If I put out peanuts, blue jays appear out of nowhere. Birds have very good eyesight and I think the birds who have already been to that feeder know exactly what they are looking for. Other birds who haven't been there before might be attracted by the sight of birds already at the feeder.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:26 PM

2. I think so, too....it's visual. But the food must give off a different heat signature?

It took about 2 weeks after I put up feeders before the 1st chickadees showed up. They seem to have very little concern about humans as I can hang out on the deck and they dine and dash. Got woodpeckers coming in for the suet, a pair of cardinals, blue jays, even morning doves. Lots of finches and non-descript little birds. I also throw food on the ground and I have a single female showing up...think she is nesting nearby.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:27 PM

3. Good question. I had some feed out in some bird seed out last year, and they ...

ignored it (the tiny BB like seeds). The seed sat in the feeder and I ended up having to throw it away.

And I think you're right, it sounds like a grouse you're hearing. They puff up their cheek pouch or throat pouch (I am not sure what) and slowly let it out in stages. It doesn't sound like tree frogs or something like that (what you're hearing). Maybe a bird watcher will 'chirp' in?

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #3)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:33 PM

4. I hear it and it sounds like someone trying to start a very tired motor. bum....bum.....bum

lots-of bums for a few seconds, then quiet. I'm going with the grouse.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #4)

Tue May 19, 2020, 09:03 PM

9. Here's a closeup of a grouse with good sound.



It does sound like a badly tuned lawn mower trying to start.

KY.......

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #9)

Tue May 19, 2020, 09:06 PM

10. That's exactly it! Thanks for posting!

The mystery confirmed....on to the next one to ponder!

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:47 PM

5. Other birds

They'll watch. If one or two appear safe, get in and out alive, others will start coming in. Among our gang, mourning doves, blue jays and chickadees seem to be the advance guard. When they hang out, others will show up soon.

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Response to sarge43 (Reply #5)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:52 PM

6. Cardinals are the most skittish.....I have a pair coming in for brief forays.

Funny thing about the males. Very territorial. Many years ago, I had a male attack my truck's side view mirror -incessantly. It apparently thought it was another male. Then my cat took notice. Found red feathers by truck....the end.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #6)

Wed May 20, 2020, 07:05 AM

15. Our pair of Cardinals are.

They come in early, grab a couple of beak fulls and get out before the mob shows up.

Many stories about male cardinals beating themselves silly attacking their reflection. Testosterone, it's a hellva drug.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:55 PM

7. Squirrels...

They find the food, make such a racket, visually signal with their tails, when they leave usually after a bird flies at them... the birds come.

Squirrels are nature’s whistleblowers.

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Response to N_E_1 for Tennis (Reply #7)

Tue May 19, 2020, 08:58 PM

8. Have a chipmunk and a small red squirrel that visit.

Got something else that visits on the deck....not sure, but scat is pretty impressive.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Reply #8)

Tue May 19, 2020, 09:17 PM

11. Raccoon, probably.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #11)

Tue May 19, 2020, 09:21 PM

12. Or a porcupine.....had one in the yard this past week. 3 sightings.

Had a pine table on the lower deck. Legs are chewed to shit....pretty sure it was a porcupine that gnawed on those legs. Always take a look before I open the door at night.....

Amazing what you see when you have endless hours to look.

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Response to OAITW r.2.0 (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2020, 09:49 PM

13. Interesting article on bird vision.

How Birds Got Their UV Vision
By Tanya Lewis February 11, 2013

See: https://www.livescience.com/26994-how-birds-uv-vision.html

I'm sure birds have a natural instinct for spotting foods that are part of their natural diet. Their sensory systems are far more keen than ours and fine-tuned for survival, like robins hearing worms in the ground.

Also, I've read many times that birds are far more likely to hang around our feeders when there are safe zones nearby such as trees and bushes where they can hide and feel secure. There are some things that keep them away from my feeders such as stray animals and loud noises in the area.


KY.........

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #13)

Tue May 19, 2020, 09:55 PM

14. I believe this!

I think they key into a visual heat signal that says - this is food. Sure they notice other birds, but I set my feeders out for a week/10 days before they found it. I do have protection in the form of trees close by, 30 feet or so. The feeders are 15 feet off ground, so they have a clear line into the feeders. The birds are definitely growing and I enjoy the company!

backatcha...

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