As avid bird feeders, we'd like to think that with all we put out for the birds - all varieties of seeds and nuts and fruits and suets in all forms - the birds would always be at our feeders to fill their nutritional needs, 100% of the time, from dawn to dusk, 365 days of the year.
Well, that's not gonna happen! Even with the best of offerings at our birdfeeders, when natural food sources are plentiful, birds will spend much of their foraging those natural foods.
It's coming up to the middle of January here in upstate New York, there's no snow cover out there and the temperatures are above freezing just about every day. We had a warm summer and plenty of rain that produced an abundance of natural food supplies. Birds have been foraging at those natural food sources and, for the most part, away from the feeders since fall.
American Goldfinches, that seemed to disappear from the area right after Tropical Storm Irene passed through, are back in good numbers. They're feeding a little from the birdfeeders, but they're mostly taking advantage of natural food, like seeds from hemlock cones in back of our house.
I've had some Pine Siskins come through the yard with goldfinches a couple times in the past month, but they, too, are feeding in the trees and not visiting feeders.
Until these natural food supplies are either depleted or ice covered, I guess I'll have to accept slower than desired goldfinch activity at my feeders. And I may have to wait until next year for a winter finch invasion, maybe in the form of Common Redpolls instead of Pine Siskins.