Yes, there have been more birds flying around the area and Donna Berry, co-owner with husband Criss of the Flower Mound and Keller franchises of Wild Birds Unlimited, knows why.
“The Pine Siskins have been here in numbers we haven’t seen in years,” she said. “In the winter months you will see your typical birds like Goldfinches and warblers that will visit your yards. But this year it’s not so much of them as the Pine Siskins that we’ve seen.
“The food hasn’t been in the places where they normally get it so now they’re here looking for it. Bird activity this year for all birds (including American Robins and Cedar Waxwings) has been higher for the same reasons. They go where the food is.”
Berry said the larger numbers are part of what’s called winter bird irruption which happens every 3-4 years depending on summer growing conditions in the northern U.S. and Canada.
While birds seek natural food methods first, Berry recommends people increase their options by putting out high fat/protein food in feeders. Interestingly, the pandemic has prompted a spike in people buying feeders as they become more aware of birds while tied to their homes.
“We’re in a perfect storm this year,” Berry said. “Starting last March when all the businesses were starting to shut down, I was scared to death. I had no idea what it would do to us.
“Well, we fell in the category like boat dealers not having boats on the floor with people having all this extra recreational time. Bird feeding is one of the areas that picked up because you have people looking out of their home and home office windows. That combined with the increased bird activity really increased our business.”
With spring upon us, Berry expects the typical cavity nesters like chickadees, wrens and bluebirds to begin nesting.
“It should be a good year for that with a larger population of birds this year,” she said.