Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Birdfeeder predation

Something has been killing birds at the birdfeeder (not this one). I
wanted to post a picture in case anyone knew what it was, but the
three latest victums have disappeared. Of the three latest, which
were all English sparrows (why do I care? They might get other birds
or my Eager), the first one was partly torn apart and the head was
missing but the second two had holes poked in their skulls and their
brains were gone, but the rest of the bird was untouched--anyone know?
Other birds taken include more English sparrows and a mourning dove.
Please advise--should I stop putting out food for the birds? That
causes a dilemma with Eager, our rehabilitated squirrel. We want to
be sure he has enough to eat. But I don't want all the birds being
picked off!


Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks, Abe. We do have multiple feeding stations, and we do have a large feeder with a porch all around it but we also run out of food when we're not available to refill the feeder--there are more birds than all the feeders (5) will hold and we're not aways available to keep them filled.

We do have Jays and large blackbirds--whoever it is pecks a hole in the skull and removes the brains but leaves all or most of the body. It's happened a number of times, but we've never SEEN it happen.

We were considering stopping the feeding altogether because it is so upsetting.

Brigitte said...

Sounds terrible :-(

I would also recommend to stop filling the feeders.
Don't be worried Eager sure will find food. His unborn natural instinct will help him.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks, Brigitte--that's what we've been thinking of doing. But after three birds in two days, we haven't lost any more since then--and LOTS of birds are happily feeding. So it's a dilemma.

Brigitte said...

In my homeland Austria / Europe we don't feed birds until it is snowing since we also had those problems. Birds when fed whole year round loose their 'normal' habit and may get cranky and violent (and the cat's do the rest)

Eager sure will find food and maybe he will catch up with another squirrel ;-)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

There are lots of problems with feeding birds--maintaining abnormally high population levels, more than the habitat will normally support, for example.

Luckily, we've had no more predation that we know of, or we might stop feeling. We feed for selfish reasons, in part, that we like to SEE the birds and more birds show up int he summer than winter.