Guest Author - Malika Harricharan
It is not unusual this time of year, for the bird world to be very quiet. The reason for this is that many birds sing to attract a mate or to defend their territory. So, once their brood has hatched they have little reason to continue singing after June. Many birders believe this lack of birdsong means something has happened to the birds. However, it is just a normal part of their behavior.
Then in August, hardly any birds can be seen be the casual observer. There are a couple reasons for this. First, once birds are done breeding, they begin the molting process. This is where they shed their old feathers and grow new ones.
When birds are molting, their feathers are not as strong and they can't fly as well. This makes them more susceptible to predators, which is why they try to conceal themselves as they donít want to make themselves any more vulnerable to predators than they already are.
Secondly, in late summer there is more ďnaturalĒ food available as fruits and berries ripen. Birds tend to go after this food as they are storing up energy for their flight southward. This is when backyard birders will find that birds are the least interested in feeding from them. As many of these birds abandon their nests in search of this readily available food, it almost seems as if they have completely disappeared.
That's not the case with every bird, of course. Hummingbirds are still around and enjoy not only feeding but chasing each other around. The difference is that they are not trying to impress the females the way they do in the spring. They are just enjoying themselves before the long journey south for the winter.
When I go for hikes as I usually do once a week, I try to listen and identify the birds I hear. But there hasnít been much noise lately. I heard a Sparrow and Wren but thatís about it. I didnít realize how much I missed the sounds of songbirds until I didnít hear them for a while.
So, the woods and fields are quiet in terms of birdsong. However, there seems to be shortage of insects and their songs. But donít worry, the birds will return shortly in the next coming months as fall approaches.