Jan 2, 2019 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, December 2018

Dear Birdsquatch: Will Our Feeder Birds Starve While We're on Vacation?

What will backyard feeder birds do when you go on vacation? Birdsquatch has an answer.
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Dear Furry Bird Genius:

My wife and I will be spending two weeks in Ecuador this February. What if there's superfrigid weather while we're gone, or an ice storm? I'm concerned that our feeder birds will starve. Should we hire a pet sitter to come fill our bird feeders while we're away, even though we don't have pets?

—Charles E., Bloomington, Indiana

Dear Chuck:

Ecuador? Wow! I've never been there, but I believe I have some distant cousins down that way, called Wawa Grande, which I believe translates into "large convenience store." As for your question, don't sweat it. Your birds will be fine because birds have wings and are really good at using them to move around to find food. When you come back, you might notice that it takes a few days for the birds to return to your backyard smorgasbord. And if this is a problem for you, then yes, by all means hire someone (or ask a friendly neighbor) to keep the feeders filled during your tropical travels. And if you do hire someone to put out food for birds and wildlife, might I suggest a person who can bake pies?



About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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  • This is exactly my experience. The local feed store had some on sale so I thought I'd try some. Actually I was shocked at how it is avoided, and I've been feeding birds for more than 40 years. I suppose I've never had it out as the ONLY food source, but when I put it out along with the blackoil, peanuts, cracked corn and suet cakes, absolutely nothing would touch it. Even when I dumped some on the ground the rabbits wouldn't eat it, nor would the squirrels. Eventually some turkeys and deer ate some--when they could find nothing else underneath the other feeders. But even they left plenty on the ground which they NEVER do with cracked corn, sunflower, etc.Every person should try some if they're inclined and decide for themselves since every situation may be a bit different, but for me/my species, safflower is a big no.
    by Colin Croft, Sun, 03 Mar 2019
  • I have questions about the Zick Dough? It says not to use in cold weather. It is still in the 40s here. Too soon? How long should I expect a supply to last? And, use a tray feeder? Thanks.
    by martindf, Sun, 25 Nov 2018
  • Glad I found this. I'm a snowbird and was worried about all the birds that come to feed at my birdfeeder. I have Cardinals, sparrows, doves, Blue Jays, chickadees. I hope they'll find food elsewhere while I'm gone.
    by Donna, Sat, 03 Nov 2018
  • I had a pair nesting for the first time this year at our farmstead in South Dakota. Boxes put out for Bluebirds which didn't come, but these were a very pleasant consolation.
    by fluffypeanutcat, Tue, 25 Sep 2018
  • This is a good point. While cleaning mine, I kinda got the impression the cheep cheeps were waiting on me since they started chirping as soon as I brought it outside again. I swear they are so smart. Within five minutes of filling the feeder up, they are there to feast.cheers Cheep cheeps!
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 20 Jul 2018