The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Where Are the Birds??

I stopped by Wild Birds Unlimited yesterday and asked if they had any ideas as to why we haven’t been seeing any birds at the feeders this year.

I mentioned that we started feeding last year, and we immediately had tons of finches, pine siskins and redpolls. This year, we have more feeders, and a wider variety of food, and we’re hardly seeing any birds (okay, we are getting occasional chickadees and downy woodpeckers).

The gal there told me that she wished it was just a matter of using a different bird food, but in fact, everyone in the area is seeing a decline in the number of winter finches and redpolls this year. Darn. I was kind of hoping that there was some magic bird food blend that was doing the trick.

She did say that she thinks the starlings and crows are particularly numerous this year, which could be having some affect. I can certainly agree with her about their numbers – we’ve got a flock of 20-30 starlings that hang around our block on a regular basis.

Humph. Oh well…


2 responses

  1. Last year was a great year to start bird feeding. Birds that usually winter in Canada were coming down in huge numbers and it was a sight to see.

    Every November I wait for Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast. The 2009-2010 forecast reported no major influx of finches because of the healthy cone crops in Canada.

    This was actually good news. Last year the stress of low nutrition and high concentrations of birds around feeders contributed to outbreaks of Salmonella. Birds carry Salmonella bacteria in their gut and when stresses increase, disease can occur in susceptible segments of the population.

    So I’m happy they’ll have a lot of food but I’ll miss seeing the flurry of activity their added numbers created at the feeders.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your observations and the fantastic photos. You have a great blog.

    January 19, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    • Bry

      Hey, thanks for that info – I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a finch forecast! I love how there’s always one more level to the stuff you learn.


      January 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm

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