local song birds

Asked January 4, 2019, 12:28 PM EST

I live in the Byron Center Mi area and my neighbors and I have all noticed we have had no birds in the area for 3 weeks. All of us have feeders which attract sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches and others and have had absolutely no birds at our feeders for about 3 weeks. In taking a walk through the woods in the neighborhood and approaching all the shrub, bush, and other areas where they are usually in the thousands, there are none. I'm concerned and wondered if you have any insight? I'm getting very puzzled.

Kent County Michigan

2 Responses

Thank you for your inquiry.

Since I am based in Oakland County and you are in Kent County, i would suggest you get in touch with Kara Haas at the MSU Kellogg Biological Station, in Hickory Corners. She is an avid birder as is her husband, and she is also connected to the local Audubon clubs, which would know more about whether they have experienced what you have in your local area.

Kara Haas, Science Education & Outreach Coordinator
W.K. Kellogg Biological Station

Hope this helps.

Just a few suggestions as well here as to what can be going on:

Often with mild weather, bird activity slows down at feeder. The birds are instead off feeding on natural food sources like seeds or insects. Typically in the winter bird feeders become much more active once there is harsh weather particularly with heavy snow cover. If you have had a mild December and any recent warm up like the one that just moved through, this can change feeding behavior dramatically. It can even change where birds are present.

Of course this might not explain why there are no birds in the shrubs, but that could be dependent on the time of day that they walk by, and the fact that over the fall the birds become increasingly quiet and won’t start up their spring calls again for a few months. Also on overcast days birds can be more quiet.

There are many plausible reasons when the activity could be slower at your feeder and in your local park this time of year. Hope that helps get you started.

For more tips on feeding birds check out this National Audubon Article here: