Sudden activity at the bird feeder may help predict bad weather

Most birds have a special middle-ear receptor called the Paratympanic organ, which can sense incredibly small changes in barometric pressure. So if the activity at feeders suddenly becomes much more intense, a storm may be approaching. Birds flying low or lining up on power lines also indicate swiftly falling air pressure.

During storms, birds may think of your feeder as a known source of food. While not dependent on feeders, it makes it easier for wild birds to survive a storm. But even with supplemental food, winter storms can be hard on small birds like chickadees. They will hunker down, fly as little as possible, and look for shelter in patches of dense vegetation or roosting houses that give protection from the wind.

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