Often when your feeders are empty of birds, it is because a predator is around. In south central Wisconsin, the predator is usually a Cooper’s Hawk - our Friday Feathered Feature.
This week, a female Cooper’s Hawk was observed hunting at Goose Pond Sanctuary. Near the feeders the next day were the feathers of a Mourning Dove, a frequent prey of Cooper's. Members of the accipiter family, including Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned hawks, pluck their prey before feeding. If you see a pile of feathers, it's likely an accipiter had a meal in your yard.
Many years ago, Cooper's Hawks were on the state-threatened list, but their numbers have greatly rebounded in the past 20 years. See this bird and more at our Goose Pond Sanctuary. For more information about Goose Pond, contact Mark and Sue Foote-Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.