Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Birding Withdrawal Syndrome

Have you been suffering from anxiety, frustration, visual delusions, an obsession to stare out of your windows and doors, spending more than usual on various food substances to attract birds and/or a nagging compulsion to place bird feeders in every nook and cranny of your yard?  If so, you may have the symptoms of BWS, or BIRDING WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME.  The cause of this dreaded illness is the sudden decrease or absence of bird watching in one's life.  Trust me, I know firsthand the challenges faced in attempting to overcome BWS.  If left untreated, symptoms may escalate into constant feelings of depravity, waking up in a nearby forest or field (sleepwalking) and sudden urges to elope to wetlands, marshes and/or birding "hot spots".  The only known effective treatment for BWS is directly related to the object from which one is withdrawing- BIRDING.  

The patient with BWS should:
- be frequently exposed to various types of birds, both resident and migratory
- have the opportunity to take an unlimited number of bird photos
- visit nature/wildlife preserves on a regular basis
- take leisurely walks in local parks and woodlands

*Grin*  :)~    Yes, I was just being silly!  But seriously, folks...I am experiencing every one of the above symptoms!  Ugh!!!  What to do????  

My husband says to give it more time, the birds will come around eventually.  But, but, but...honey, it's been nearly two months and not ONE BIRD has been seen on the feeders (pout).  I hear them in the nearby trees and brush- Cardinals, Chickadees, Blue Jays, Woodpeckers.  I know their calls.  But I only catch a quick glimpse of the Cardinals and Blue Jays as they flitter from one tree to the next. The Blue Jays are pretty regular about visiting early mornings- they stop and scoop up a few pieces of corn or peanuts from the ground.  An Eastern Phoebe is a regular visitor to the power lines on one side of our property.  He stays a while and watches for flying insects.  I've watched several migrating flocks fly over our property, heading south.  But, why won't they come to my feeders?  

There are various styles of feeders placed in our backyard, filled with an assortment of good quality bird food.  A suet feeder hangs alongside one of the regular feeders.  On a concrete bench sits a variety of goodies- homemade suet, peanuts, sunflower seeds and orange slices.  So, where are the birds?  Do you understand my frustration here?  Am I expecting too much too soon?  I'm open to suggestions, please comment if you have any.

It's been difficult to come from a place that was a "hot zone" for birds.  They were everywhere and I had constant traffic at the feeders.  From the very first day I placed my feeders out there, birds appeared.  They brought such joy to me with their presence and daily songs.  Now...well, there are often long periods of silence in the yard, other than the occasional stream of traffic.  It's pretty bad when you sit outdoors with your camera, waiting and watching, listening intently, trying to discern the location of the bird you hear...then something suddenly moves and you excitedly jerk the camera into position, aimed and ready to shoot, anxious to see that striking beauty in your lens...wait, where is it?  I saw it moving!  Then *sigh*, you realize it was a large yellow or brown leaf falling.  Drats!  

I realize that I have no choice but to wait.  Maybe it would help to move my feeders to the front yard, which isn't as heavily wooded as the back.  Perhaps while I'm waiting, I should focus on other tasks- trying out new recipes, decorating for the holidays, sorting out more stuff from our move.  Maybe I'll take up crocheting again to keep my hands busy.  However, these things wouldn't bring me the joy that birding does.  Speaking of keeping my hands busy- I created a "goodie" tree for the birds which includes small pears, empty orange halves filled with cranberries, stuffed pine cones, cereal rings and homemade suet balls.  It's really cute and I'll tell you more about it in the next post :)   See what I mean?  I'm obsessed with attempts to attract birds to my back yard!  

I wondered if it's just me- am I crazy?  Is this normal?  So, you know what?  I actually googled "birding withdrawal syndrome" while typing this post.  I laughed at the results- you wouldn't believe the number of people, everywhere, who have experienced bird watching withdrawal.  Too funny! So, birding really can become an addiction.  I shouldn't be surprised!  

What I need is some bird therapy!  A trip to known birding spots along the gulf coast would probably do me some good.  What do you think?  


  1. Well you certainly have all the right stuff, equipment wise and delicious treats..... build it and they will come....soon.

  2. well, i was going to suggest to add some 'cover' to the backyard to invite the birds to come in closer to the feeders, but if it's already heavily wooded, then maybe not. :) sorry it's taking them a while!

  3. The good thing about living in Florida. Few of our birds fly (further) south. And we get more visitors (love the robins) than the homies we lose.

  4. Well I can't say I have bird withdrawal syndrome cuz I'm not a big bird watcher anyway. But I'm sure it could happen with those who are.

  5. I am having BWS, too! For two days I sat in my chair blind...waiting...waiting. Set out everything to attract all sorts of birds. Nothing. I could hear them, yet they wouldn't approach. The only way for me to see a bird is to go to the lakes and watch the pelicans and ducks. Good luck!

  6. If you build it they will come (eventually!)

    Nice post.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. Too funny! With the spread you put out, I can't imagine what's taking them so long. They're going to love it when they finally find it.