Caching

10-11-12 1 By: Shelly Sutley, edited by Hayley Kubler

The important word this month is “Caching!”

What does that mean? I’m sure you’ve seen it happening in your backyards. “Caching” is when birds begin hiding food in order to have enough to eat later. Not all birds migrate during the Winter, and providing a steady food source can keep our feathered friends full and healthy. Right before Winter songbirds begin to form their “cache” of extra food as they know that hard and stressful times are coming!

If there are no natural food sources left over, birds can turn to their caches which are full of everything they need. Of course, there is always a chance that other birds or animals can get into that secret hiding place. This is why birds are looking for as much food as possible right now and making several caches they can find later. It is so important to keep your bird feeders full to insure that our songbirds have enough for later. They feel the stress of the upcoming season and may be going through your birdseed quicker than normal.

A Recycled Bird Feeder

I think humans create caches as well! Currently we are cooling down after a busy Homecoming week at my daughter’s high school. There was school, volleyball, the football game and finally the Homecoming dance! I noticed that some of my things kept disappearing, including my camera and cables. My theory is that my daughter was collecting the things that she thought she needed for this important week. The problem? We couldn’t find it, and I was left without a camera when I wanted to take pictures of her before the big event!

Sometimes, birds and other animals can’t remember where their caches are. They have hidden so many around your yard that they all blend together. While this may be frustrating to the birds, the ecosystem itself benefits from these forgotten food sources. How? Often, the food that was hidden away were seeds or acorns. When the sun comes out and Spring begins again, these seeds are already buried in the dirt. They take advantage of the situation and they begin to grow.

Nature has a way of always finding new opportunities to create positive situations out of a possible failure. I think we all can learn from that!

One Comment

  1. Maree Barney-Sutley   on 10/11/12

    I find I cache books to read this winter. What do you cache?

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