Date: 10/11/18 12:22 pm
From: Kate M. Chapman <kmc025...>
Subject: Re: October lull at feeders
maybe they're working on their Halloween costumes too hard to make time for
feeder visits?

sorry, I couldn't resist. 👻🎃

Kate M. Chapman, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Psychological Science
235 Memorial Hall
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Email: <kmc025...>

On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 2:13 PM Butch Tetzlaff <butchchq8...> wrote:

> My wife and I have been collecting yard data for the past 4 years using
> the Project Feeder Watch protocol. However, we have been doing it
> year-round rather than only during the winter time period.
> It has provided us with wonderful information about the natural ebb and
> flow at our feeders both by time of year and species.
> Looking at the data, October is consistently the slowest month of the
> year. Having talked with folks in the bird feeding industry, they report
> that the slowest time of year for them (in terms of seed sales) is also in
> October. Birds just don't seem to be visiting feeders as much this month
> in general.
> The question is why?
> I can (and have) posed several explanations for this including migration
> timing, natural seed availability, timing of molt, and juvenile dispersal.
> All of the above probably coincide to a certain degree to create a perfect
> storm of fewer birds at our feeders this month. But they have to eat
> something, and they have to be somewhere.
> The perplexing thing is that most of our feeder birds in NWA are residents
> (non-migratory). Also, many of them are insectivorous woodland birds, so
> saying they are in the fields eating all the weed seeds doesn't add up.
> Molt is physiologically expensive, so one would think birds would be
> gorging themselves to get enough calories, and feeders are a quick way to
> do that. Lastly, if it were primarily juvenile dispersal, one would expect
> as much immigration as emigration in contiguous forest patches, unless
> there were a systematic directional dispersal, and that is generally called
> "migration", which we have already said that many tend not to do.
> So, to me, this observation remains to be fully explained.
> Has anyone seen any real research on this topic to better explain the
> phenomenon?
> Butch Tetzlaff
> Bentonville

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