Where have all the song birds gone?

Asked January 9, 2020, 3:37 PM EST

I have had a few people ask me: Where have all the song birds gone this year in northeast Michigan? They're not seeing even half as many as usual. Is there a reason anyone knows that has or would cause this?

Alcona County Michigan

1 Response


Although I'm not a bird expert, I just received an email today from a Michigan DNR biologist (Thomas Cooley) who has been receiving calls/emails from people in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula that few birds are being observed at feeders this winter. He reported some ideas for this lack of bird activity, including "a good year for cone seeds in Canada causing some species to not have migrated south, the mild winter in much of the state, and possibly West Nile Virus mortalities in previous years that might have hampered productivity and recruitment".

Of course, these are just some hypotheses about what may be occurring, so it appears to be a bit of a mystery at this time.

Tom Cooley is a Wildlife Pathologist for the MI DNR and is interested in keeping track of these reports in Michigan. I recommend contacting him to convey your observations and I'm sure he would be happy to give other details he may have as well.

His contact information is:

Thomas M. Cooley

Wildlife Biologist/Pathologist

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wildlife Disease Lab

517-336-5034 (Office)

Email: CooleyT2@michigan.gov

I hope this helps!