I've refilled my bird feeders and I spent some time outside this weekend in the glorious fall weather watching for visitors to those feeders. Mostly, I watched in vain. The yard continues to be depressingly quiet except for the occasional outbreak of chatter from the mob of House Sparrows. It seems that my ten-day absence from observing has brought major, if perhaps temporary, changes. The birds have fled.
This is not good timing, because I just got my reminder from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that Project FeederWatch begins next weekend. Time to once again count the birds that come to eat at our feeders or the plants in our yards. Unless traffic picks up over the next few days, I won't have much to report.
Of course, birds at the feeders are always cyclical. They come and they go as wild food is or isn't available, but some of the backyard birds visit the feeders throughout the year and it is a bit disconcerting to see them with virtually no activity, no Northern Cardinals or Carolina Chickadees swooping in for black oil sunflower seeds or suet.
The thing about birds is they have wings and they fly. They fly to sources of food. No doubt "my" birds are still around close by and will put in an appearance again when they need a predictable source of food. At least that's what I tell myself. Being a birder is always an exercise in patience.