Heading out the door for a midwinter getaway, you congratulate yourself on your laudable stewardship of all the lives that depend on you--the dog is at the kennel, the goldfish is with a neighbor and a friend will come over to water your plants. But wait a minute! Your birdfeeders are already half empty, and you haven't even left the driveway. What will happen to those cute little chickadees when they fly in for black-oil sunflower seed but find nary a crumb?
Wild birds are resourceful, gleaning most of their food from the natural habitat; except in extreme or unusual circumstances, they manage to find enough to eat to survive. But birds that have become used to supplemental feeding may suffer when that food supply is suddenly missing, especially in winter. Experts offer a variety of tips and insights: