The quiet in my yard these days is eerie and a little unnerving. All of a sudden, the birds seem to have disappeared. Oh, there are a few here and there but not the large numbers that I'm used to seeing during most of the year.
I've had these episodes before, but they always surprise me when they happen. One day the yard is filled with birds and birdsong; the next day everything is quiet and still.
I've blamed a lot of it on the Cooper's Hawk that seems ever-present these days and I'm sure that does have something to do with it, but I think there is something more at work here. It's possible that a wild source of food has suddenly become available and attracted some of those birds that usually feed here. It may also be that this is the time of dispersal for the young birds that were hatched this year. Perhaps they are moving on to find territories of their own. I think this may be what's happening in the case of the Northern Cardinals.
Throughout most of the year, my yard is overrun with cardinals. It's not unusual to see 15 to 20 of the birds gathering around the feeder at the end of the day for their late afternoon snack. But lately the tally runs more to three or four. The birds have completed their molting by now and they are dressed in their winter/spring finery, so perhaps, now that they are adults, it was time for them to move on.
Another factor may be changes in the weather. We get fronts through here every few days now and the change in temperature, humidity, and the barometric pressure may well be a signal to some of the birds - hummers, for example - to move on.
But whatever the reasons may be, my backyard is a relatively quiet place these days. Spooky - like Nature is playing a Halloween trick on me.