SBS member makes interesting observations

A recent cold blustery night alerted one of our members to an interesting occurrence in their garden.

He reported two synchronised events: 

On the morning of 28th January 2019 at about 09:30 a dead crow was found lying on the front drive of our home in Surrey.  An observer reported that she had observed a number of corvids circling the large cedar tree in our front and this drew her attention to the dead crow. The circumstances suggest that it had fallen out of the tree. It had clearly been dead for a few hours because its body was quite cold. The temperature on the night of 27/28 had I believe been a little below freezing but perhaps more to the point it had been an exceptionally strong northerly wind all night. This made me wonder if it had died due to hypothermia.

goldfinch on feeder

The other strange thing that happened on the same day relates to finches - predominately goldfinches.

Up until the 27th January, there were regularly about Goldfinches feeding sunflower hearts from a large feeder in the back garden. They would go through approximately 1.5 pints of seed per day. Not that they consume that amount because they are very wasteful and pieces they drop are caught in a bin below the feeder.

On the 28th January, feeding ceased, and I have not witnessed any finches since. I have noticed an odd sparrow or two but that is all. On 4th February – i.e. eight days after the crow died – I only needed 1 pint of seed to top up the feeder. So the usage had suddenly fallen from 1.5 pints to 1/8 pint per day.

So – extending my thoughts of deaths by hypothermia I am left wondering if numerous goldfinches (or other finches) were wiped out on the night of 27/28 January?

 I would be very interested to know if anyone else has noticed this effect. The strong northerly wind I believe covered most of the British Isles.

So; have you noticed any differences in the birds in your garden?  Any changes in food consumption? 

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