General Question

Pandora's avatar

What would explain this odd animal behavior?

Asked by Pandora (23055 points ) April 20th, 2014

I walk out to my deck and noticed 5 birds around my feeder and two sitting on the feeder. They were all still looking away from me. I would notice they glanced at me slightly but continued to look away from me. Usually they would fly away and then come back if I look busy.

But then I noticed there was no singing. Not any one of them or any birds in the woods, behind my home. That was the direction they were looking. Even the squirrel in the woods was standing and looking in the same direction. I can usually hear the squirrels running about in the fallen leaves but there wasn’t a sound. I saw no predators. They stayed like that for about 10 minutes and it didn’t mattered that I moved about. They were not paying me any mind. Just standing like frozen little statues. Then I hear one bird chirping in some tree and then everyone resumes what they were doing. Flying, eating or running about. I thought maybe there was a fire somewhere. What do you think it was?

Could they be sensing a quake about to happen? Strange they would just freeze where they were. No attempt to hide or even flee my presence.

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9 Answers

syz's avatar

There may have been a hawk or some other type of predator that you weren’t able to see. Many species will have a sentinel that calls an alarm, as well as an “all clear”. (Hoofbeats and zebras, you know.)

gailcalled's avatar

My guess also would have been one of the large raptors. From time to time I will hear a lot of squawking and, looking up, see 5–6 songbirds who are harrying a red-tailed hawk…to get him to relocate, it appears.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, silence usually means a predator is about, raptor, cat, snake, etc. but…also, you will notice less singing at this time of year as it is breeding season and after birds have paired up and have mated and set up housekeeping, egg laying, and raising their nestlings the need to sing to attract a mate diminishes. They will still sing to announce their territorial boundaries but by the end of the breeding season which is roughly late Feb./March through June, the singing will drop off markedly.

gailcalled's avatar

They also sing less, even during mating season, in the middle of the day. One is more apt to hear them early in the day and then again at sundown. Still breeding season here in the NE, and now, at mid-day, I can hear a pin drop.

pleiades's avatar

Do planes ever pass by? Everyonce in a while they looks like shadows of a raptor

gailcalled's avatar

Airplane shadows don’t have aromas attached to them.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled My geese always cocked their heads and stared at passing planes. It was hilarious! “What is that big bird in the sky?”

ragingloli's avatar

Animals can tell when cloaked aliens are nearby.

ibstubro's avatar

There could have been a sound that was or mimicked distant gunfire before you stepped out.

Otherwise I would agree that you barely missed seeing some predator in the woods or sky.

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