Are less birds using your bird feeders this year? Some people have reported that there aren't as many birds in their gardens. This is down to many factors but the main one is there is an abundance of food in the wild this autumn. Blackberries are dropping off bushes, limbs are dropping off rowan trees under the sheer weight of the berries and sweet chestnuts are covered in the prickly cases holding the yummy chestnuts inside. For trees we call this a mast year which is a tactic trees use to outwit their specific predators. Trees such as oaks and beech produce so many nuts and seeds one year that the parasitic wasps, deer, squirrels etc can't eat them all so some will live on to become new trees. This happens once in every 5-12 years depending on the weather and the other years there is hardly any nuts which keeps the predator numbers down. Beech trees this year have deployed a different tactic they have produce lots of the beech husks but when you look inside most of them are empty. This fools the parasitic wasps to laying their eggs inside but when they hatch there is nothing to eat, the population crashes and the next real beech mast year goes largely unaffected so clever!