Where do the birds go when it rains?
November 18, 2005 12:38 PM   Subscribe

BirdFeederFilter: When it's gloomy and rainy, I don't see any birds at my birdfeeder for days on end. Then as soon as it's sunny, they're all over the place. What gives? What do they do on rainy days, just forage near their nest? Don't birds gotta eat when it rains?
posted by agropyron to Science & Nature (9 answers total)
If it isn't going to rain for long the birds find a drier place to hide. If it's raining and there are birds at your feeder, you can expect it to rain for a while.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2005

Best answer: First of all, birds don't live in nests. They build nests only when they are ready to raise a family, and the nest is usually abandoned afterwards. (There are exceptions, such as woodpeckers, and often cavity nesting birds like chickadees will roost in their nest cavity at night - esp. during the winter.)

Most birds have a home feeding territory. When it rains, they behave kind of like we do, hunkering down more, and sticking closer to the trees. Wet feathers are fine for preening, but make it difficult to fly.

If your feeders are under a shelter, the birds may be more inclined to hang out there. I always have half a dozen birds roosting under my patio umbrella in the rain. Some shrubs or trees near the feeder might help, as well.

Good luck!
posted by shifafa at 12:53 PM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

So where do birds live, if they don't live in nests?
posted by smackfu at 1:26 PM on November 18, 2005

In hedges, shrubbery and up trees.

Half asleep, mostly.
posted by the cuban at 1:39 PM on November 18, 2005

They are just like you and me -- they hide in bad weather. Take it from me -- I'm from a very bad weather area.
posted by orlin at 2:22 PM on November 18, 2005

Also, remember, worms come out when it rains because they can't breathe. So, bird buffet.
posted by kindall at 6:58 PM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

I guess that's why the feeder in my front yard isn't getting any action -- the maple tree has lost its leaves, so there's no incentive for birds to frequent it. You'd think they'd notice the free food, though.
posted by languagehat at 6:24 AM on November 19, 2005

languagehat, have you had birds at your feeder before?

- if you have, and they are no longer there, perhaps they are migratory. Or your food got stale, or wet and moldy, or something tasty turned up in the natural world.

- if the birds have never discovered your feeder, keep these facts in mind: 1) it will take birds at least a couple of weeks to notice the food, in the best of circumstances; 2) they may not stumble upon it at all, in which case you must attract them another way.

In the case of 2) perch a fake bird of the right size on the feeder, scatter a mixture of light and dark seed on a visible surface, or provide water for the birds nearby. Any dripping sound will attract them, even if you just have an old milk jug slowly dripping into a shallow bowl of water.
posted by shifafa at 9:13 AM on November 19, 2005

Oh yeah, the little fellows loved the feeder all summer. The feeder's been out in the rain, so I'm sure the seeds got wet; I didn't realize that could cause problems. Maybe I should dump what's in there now.
posted by languagehat at 9:56 AM on November 19, 2005

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