Birds

Asked September 26, 2019, 6:36 PM EDT

Where have our birds disappeared to? We have 4 wild bird feeders and 4 hummingbird feeders. We haven't seen wild birds feeding in over 3 weeks here in Carroll County, but neither have our birdwatching friends in Anne Arundel, Hartford County or even upstate NY?????? We've changed seed to keep it fresh and clean water in the bird bath. Very puzzling!

Maryland wildlife hummingbirds songbirds lack of birds at feeders

4 Responses

Several of us feed birds or follow bird pages on social media and have noticed some of the same things.
We think that there are a couple of issues worth considering.
One is that migrations have begun. People are definitely reporting that their hummingbirds are on the move south. (Though keep your feeders up in case a migrant from further north may need a rest stop and drink.)

Another thing to consider is that there is a wealth of natural food available right now, including insects,seeds, fruits, nuts and berries. As these thin out and the weather grows cold, we think (hopefully) that you will see the return of your winter birds to your feeders and baths.


Christine

Hi - I would like to add:

A recently published study of birds has noted a decline in their numbers over the last 50 years. Habitat loss, insect declines, pesticide use, climate change and even direct threats like outdoors cats are considered contributing factors. See details of the new study here: https://www.audubon.org/news/north-america-has-lost-more-1-4-birds-last-50-years-new-study-says

In addition to seeds, birds need insects to feed their young. A study published in 2017 found that Carolina chickadees are more likely to breed in locations with native plants that support caterpillars to feed their young. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320717305153

One thing you can do, in addition to providing feeders, would be to support the habitat birds need. Add native plants to your landscape. The Audubon Society has a great database of plants that support birds. https://www.audubon.org/plantsforbirds

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is an excellent resource for research-based information about birds. Take a look at their "seven simple actions to help birds."
https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/seven-simple-actions-to-help-birds/

Christa

Thank you for your response. I'm still not convinced; the wild birds disappeared several weeks ago, before the hummingbirds begin leaving. I'm in Maryland and we still have several hummingbirds hanging around or stopping by to feed. As far as natural seed, insects, fruits & berries available, I understand; however, the birds seem to have disappeared all of a sudden. I read about the declining bird population over the years and that saddens me; hopefully we can all participate in improving this declining bird population.

Yes, the disappearance of birds certainly is a concern. We do not have further information beyond what was already provided. Like all animals, birds need plentiful sources of high-quality food, water, shelter, and places to raise their young. Continue to do what you can to support their habitat at home and in your community.

Christa