Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunflower Seeds: Not So Much in March

As readers may know, I am undertaking a data gathering exercise in 2011 to see how bird food consumption looks over the course of the year. Last month I nearly fainted, observing that actual consumption of sunflower seed was greatly beyond my expectations, day to day. That is, the daily top-offs did not appear in my mind to add up to the astonishing poundage figures in my spreadsheet. Well, that was February. And I did not need to know that March would come in lower, as I experienced whole days when I barely saw the need to top off anything. Round about March 10-13 the market collapsed. We had left town, and thus the feeders weren't filled for three days. Coincidentally (?), the American Goldfinch mob vanished, and so did the House Finches, for the most part. These birds have been the whole story over the winter because lately squirrels have not been a factor. And, of course, nature is offering more natural choices as spring returned, so our bird friends can vary their diet. The drop-off in sunflower seed is so sharp that this past week I nearly put out more suet (one 12-ounce cake) than sunflower seed (just 27 ounces)! I do expect to see more of a turnaround in April and May as hatchlings enter the picture. But no matter what, it is instructive to measure and see just what bounty we put out for our friends.

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