Winter arrived with a vengeance here. Suddenly we had lots of snow on the ground and temperatures that stayed below freezing during the day and hovered around zero at night. The bird feeders were full of mixed seed, thistle seed, black oil sunflower seeds and big chunks of beautiful white suet. We had the snow, the cold temperatures and the feeders all ready to go… what we didn’t have were the birds.

Instead of dozens and dozens of chickadees flying in and out of the feeders, we now saw only three. There were five or six woodpeckers, four bluejays and eleven mourning doves… and yes, mourning doves will eat from an elevated feeder. Despite a heavy snowfall over two days, there were no other birds around.

The Audubon Society and several other local bird information sources insisted that nothing was wrong… that because of the warmer than usual fall weather and the unusually abundant sources of natural food… the birds were still finding plenty to eat in the wild. Another explanation they gave was that bird populations naturally fluctuate from year to year and that a feeder that is really “busy” one year may have few birds the next.

This is all true, but we have been feeding birds here for many, many years and it was obvious that there was something very different happening (or not happening). We had had the normal number of birds the previous winter and into spring and early summer. I think it was in July when we first noticed that there weren’t as many birds around as usual. We keep one feeder filled all summer, and we usually have baby birds perched on or around it with the parent birds feeding their babies from the feeder. I love watching them, and their screeching is hard to overlook, so I know for sure that there were no baby birds being fed at this feeder. We also didn’t see the usual number of baby robins.

I wonder… was it just too cold and wet for the summer’s baby birds to survive? Did the organized spraying campaigns kill the birds as well as the massive caterpillar population? Or did the birds just go somewhere else looking for better weather?

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I have the feeder this year and bread that I have thrown or the Hippy thrown out one. We do not have as many birds niether this year. All I can say is a long hard cold winter once it sets in. 2 inches here and feet in the South Towns.


I’ve noticed the same thing here in central PA. I even bought a nice “squirrel-proof” bird feeder this year. I was beginning to fear that it was bird-proof, too! So far just a few chickadees, juncos, titmice and a cardinal couple have stopped by.


We just moved to this place in April so I am not sure what is normal here but I do know that I rarily saw a Robin. My computer sits next to a large window that has a couple huge bushes in front of it. Usually in the mornings I can sit at here with my coffee and enjoy cardinals, chickadees, wrens, etc… We didn’t feed them this summer but we did put a couple feeders out when it started turning cold and I don’t think they have really noticed them yet.

I miss our old place. We had tons of bluebirds and finches there and I enjoyed watching them play in the snow.

Stay warm,


I am not sure but I think the windmill “farms” that are beginning to scatter the landscape here in Maine have taken their toll on the bird population. I have been doing a lot of research on these 400 foot monsters and have concluded that they will (or have already had) a negative effect on bird populations.

Rachel Carson wrote about a “Silent Spring” due to the poisons mankind has put into our environment. Wouldn’t it be a kick in the butt to find out we have another silent spring and winter) due to trying to clean up the environment.

The sad truth about the wind farms is that not one of them, worldwide, has closed one coal-fired plant. And none of the electricity generated here in Maine will benefit Maine people.

I have not been able to get an honest assessment about the impact of windfarms on the environment and wildlife and especially birds from the people who are making the big bucks building these “farms”. I doubt if they care about birds or anything else except their profit.

I saw my first winter cardinal this evening. I cried because we used to have so many of them. And our sweet juncos (snowbirds) that used to come in huge flocks are all but gone. We have the titmice, chickadees, both kinds of nuthatches, a couple of woodpeckers and some sparrows and mourning doves but not in the numbers of last year.

I hope I am wrong about windfarms. I hope the birds make a comeback. I hope it is just what you suggested, Shirley, that the cold wet summer was not good for the survival of the baby birds.

I hope because a planet (or just a backyard feeder) without birds is incomprehensible to me.


I haven’t noticed a change this year. I sit in a place where I can see our yard all day and we still get plenty of finches, siskins, chickadees and titmouses (mice?) I’ve even seen some cedar waxwings some warblers and vireos, in addition to a host of tree clinging birds and armies of robins. I don’t have a feeder but, I do grow berry producing bushes (like viburnum and wild roses.) I also have a bird bath with a water drip. Each morning, I dump the block of ice and put warm water in it and the wildlife arrives right away. The poor things really need water these days, even if all you have is pie tin to place on the ground, it will help.


i read somewhere that it might have something to do with the earth’s magnetic field since that is how birds navigate in the winter. but what about the bees? I hear they’re disappearing too.


So far, so good here in NC. We have feeders, birdbaths, and lower feeding stations for the squirrels. We still have at least three families of cardinals, and a variety of finches, chickadees, pidgeons, etc. I think a lot depends on the area. We live in the city but behind our houses, is a dense “forest”…hence the name, “Oakwood Forest”, and back there, they have a number of shrubs, extremely tall old gum trees, lots of grown over tree limbs, etc…makes for pretty good shelter. Well, we all know that everything in the wildlife world is “predatory”. Something “does” kill off small things around here. A neighbor told me that some idiot introduced coyotes into Uwharrie Forest to “control the deer population”…eek.
Well, I’m not sure, but I think I’ve seen “foxes” and “coyote-like” creatures back in there. Something swift and fast took out a cat of ours. Owls are becoming a problem…they swoop down and carry off small dogs and kittens, no lie. We’ve seen them. Also, I read recently where one deadly strain of “bird flu” can kill off a percentage as high as 90% in bird colonies. I agree with the windmill thing. Wouldn’t be worth it if it’s not saving enough energy to really make a difference, and definitely wouldn’t be worth it, if it’s mutilating the poor birds. Birds have enough trouble with “airplanes”. I “wish” birds were smarter. You’d think “once” they say “one bird” get eaten by a cat…it would be like, “ooh, let’s don’t go too close to the ground there…predator”. You’d think that “once” they saw one relative hit the giant corporate window…they’d go, “eek, that’s not an open window”. You think that “once” they saw relatives get grinded up in an airplanes’ propeller, they’d go “eek, blender, let’s avoid that one. But no-o-o-oh…they just keep on making the same deadly mistakes. We’re lucky “any of them survive”. I’m glad some do. The songbirds in our backyard actually serenade me when I come out to bring them fresh water and feed. It’s “so touching” to hear how “gracious and grateful” they are. Yes, it would be “so sad” for God’s beautiful winged creatures to no longer exist. I’m getting on in years, but let’s hope they’ll all be around for centuries to come. “moon”


I live in Northern Ontario and up until this winter we have been buying 50lb bags of oils a month for the winter birds. Last year, the only species of birds we didn’t see were the Evening Grosbeaks. This year, we had an abundance of Blue Jays at the start of the late November, now almost January 2014, and we are lucky to see one or maybe two at a time at the feeder. Many different species of Wood Peckers can be occasionally seen at the feeders, Chickadees are not many, the Pine Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, Evening Grosbeaks, Red Polls and the Junco’s , well, haven’t seen not one of those. Our lawn is usually riddled with Snow Birds, a winter staple of birds, and have had many snow storms to date with not one Snow Bird in sight. The Environmental studies say everything is fine, I beg to differ. I had one 50lb bag left over from last winter stored and unopened in a garbage can with lid on, and am still using that same one for the last 3 months. There has to be a reason why, and I do not believe that the “natural bush” has enough on the branches for the birds to eat. All I have to say is give us a good reason as to why or where the birds are going. I want my birds back!!!

Sue P.

I fill my feeders everyday. I have 4 sets of cardinals, to many gold finches to count, Downeyand red headed woodpeckers . Birds in my yard all day, every day. In the last few days my feeders are full everyday, no cardinals no chickadees no woodpeckers no finches. Not even a squirrel. I see a few robins and mockingbirds nesting in my trees. Where are my song birds I so love? Does anybody have an explanation? Did I get a batch of bad black oil sunflower?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Sue, sadly, it is entirely possible that the seeds were bad. Did you read the post I wrote about the poisoned seeds that the Scotts Miracle-Gro company sold a couple of years ago… knowing that the seeds were poisoned and would kill the birds? I have a post about it here

I hope YOUR birds are OK and that they come back.

Mark K.

I have lived in venus tx for 40 years on a 6 acre land, in all my life I have never seen this. This time of year I have thousands of birds perching in the woods and today none. I would save my bread to through to the birds at the parking lot at work and it would be there the next day. I would whistle to the mocking birds all year round and now they are gone. I need answers! they say it is natural, but it is not. Something serious has changed. And I’m scared. first the birds then what?


I live in toledo & we had 3 Cooper hawks hanging around now I have no cardinals or juncos I feel sick I know they have to eat but I love my birds

Susanne C.

I am very sad to say the exact same thing has happened to me. I really miss all the birds. I changed all my feed – bought a new feeder – and still no birds, except as above, a couple of chickadees, 4 mourning doves and 4 blue jays. No finches. Lots of squirrels.

Susan P.

In the beginning of Summer we had many birds. I could not keep the feed in my feeders and the suet in my two suet feeders would not last 2 days. Then I noticed in the middle of summer to the end (now). There are no birds. I have had a couple of hummingbirds, but they do not come as frequently as they were, very seldom. I look up in the trees (I live in a very wooded area) and at my neighbors feeders and there are no birds anywhere. It is eerie. I have never experienced this before.

Lisa M.

We live in Redding Valley, Maine, and are also avid bird feeders/watchers. We have also noted a dramatic decrease in bird activity. Like you, a few Chickadees and Bluejays. There are no Finches, Nuthatches, or any other common Winter birds at our feeders. Up until September, we would have to fill the feeders every other day to keep up. We have not had to fill our feeders for months now. It is very disconcerting and we are definitely noticing the absence of the birds this year. The other absence is Red squirrels. We are constantly fighting to keep them out of our feeders, but haven’t seen one as yet. Very, very strange.


Here on Canada’s east coast there are none as well, not at our feeder’s nor up in the deep woods where I spend my days gathering firewood, the odd crow is all I see and hear, It’s very disconcerting to say the least, and please don’t give me that global warming stuff, this is just too sudden.


December 2017 is the first winter in 30 years that there are no chickadees around here. The feeders are plentiful. As usual, many blue jays and woodpeckers. Oddly, a few Junco birds are still around. It’s mid-December and quite cold, especially this week (daytime high around -10C). In the Laurentians (province of Quebec) where I live, we already have several inches of snow. Chickadees normally stay here all year round and Juncos should have flown South before the first snowfall at the latest.


Not sure where you are but I could have written this word for word! We too are experienced bird watchers, feeders up year round but where are the chickadess?
Millbrook ON Canada

Susan E.

I have lived in this house in southern Vermont for ten years, and always have bird feeders out. In ten years I have never had so few birds at my feeders, and such little variety. It is alarming. There were also very few insects this past summer. I wonder if there is any connection.


We are real bird lovers. I have beautiful bird houses and feeders available for them. All summer and early fall we have many varieties of birds. Since last Oct until the present time (Dec21) we have had no birds. I put some ground seeds down and no luck with that either. Even though I live in a normal neighborhood We have many, many trees around for their protection. My seed cakes are a no show either. Any suggestions?


Let me put my tin foil hat on & say the chemtrails that release metals into the air are killing off birds & bees in mass numbers. It’s been years since I heard a whippoorwill


I did see intense amounts of Herbicides sprayed in my area the day before my feeder went empty.

Susan L.

Same here I. Fryeburg, Maine. No chickadees, no cardinals, no finches. This had never happened before.


Here in Vermont I am seeing the same thing, very few birds! This is the lowest turnout in 30 years of feeding. Usually we have 60+ chickadees and this year we only have about 3. The weather is -25 , so if they where around, they would be at the feeder. Blue jays are about a third of their usual numbers also. It is disturbing to me. I think all the rain killed off the young and some of the mothers. I have seen nesting robins die overnight after being on their nests in severe prolonged cold rain storms. I feel this is a big issue and no big players seem to be addressing it.


I’m in Vancouver, Canada and I’ve been gardening all day. Not a single bird anywhere. Usually this time of year they are all over the elder berries and drinking in the pond but not this year. I’ve only seen a few titmice this summer and that’s about it for birds. I haven’t seen a beetle all day either. It’s very eerie.

Bob M.

We are in NE Florida west of Saint Augustine. I’ve noticed that birds are fewer and fewer with time. It’s been bad for quite awhile but as of last month it’s been getting worse. Someone here saw and photographed a pileated woodpecker, a hawk and a hummingbird but I keep sitting outside and looking and I don’t hear or see any. And I also hardly see any insects. They’re few and far between. Some butterflies, moths, yellow flies, but, and this is weird; no mosquitoes. The sunshine here is scorching and I believe they can’t take it.

Wayne D.

I live in north victory N.Y. and I’ve seen two birds in two weeks.My feeder is full.There’s something strange going on.


I live in east Tennessee and I’ve noticed the same thing. We have been feeding birds here since 1993 and we’ve always had an abundance of birds but this fall all i’ve seen are doves a few chickades and titmice. I feel something is definitely wrong.

ed m.

We live in Pgh Pa and have only Cardinals, Chickadees and a few Doves. At the beginning of summer, we had male and female woodpeckers, and a variety of other birds. I buy good seed and suet, but not many takers.

Hank L.

I live on Lake Whitney{Texas} the birds are gone i am 74 and have never seen anything like this ,last year at this time i could not keep my feeders full & this year i have not seen a bird at my feeders what has happen to our wild birds-this has me very worried something very serious is going on and i don’t have a clue what it is!!!!!!

Sandy M

I live in mid Missouri and normally have 10-25 cardinals at my feeders all day long. This year I have zero! I have chickadees, golden finches, titmouse, nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers along with turtle doves. My husband and I have seen exactly 2 cardinals since this spring. What is going on?

Hank L.

Updating my post——THE WILD BIRDS ARE BACK ON LAKE WHITNEY,TX-i do not know what happen but all of a sudden the wild birds showed up and there are as many as i had last year or maybe more-I AM SO BLESSED to be able and to look out my windows and see ten+ difference types of wild birds maybe more with 50+ white wing doves at a time feeding they can eat a lot of sunflower seed but i don’t care THEY GIVE ME SO MUCH ENJOYMENT JUST WATCHING THEM EVERYDAY and their reactions to squirrels yes the squirrels are back also.


As though someone announced to the bird hot line “come and get it”. Here in So. Central Pa. I have been looking for the usual varieties with no luck for a couple months. After two days of pretty cold temps. (below freezing)
They have arrived at my sunflower seed feeder.
I wonder where they have been in the last weeks!
I noticed the same thing last year, for the first time. Being fairly near to the Army Depot 15 miles. They set off old ordinance often that rattles my windows……could this have frightened them? I wonder?

David C.

It’s December here in NW Florida. We normally have a ton of mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals and sparrows, among other birds. For some strange reason, they are gone now. Never seen this happen before. I know this year (2023) is going down on the history books as the ‘hottest summer on record’ but the skies are silent and the birds are gone. What has happened? I’ve been feeding the birds here for many years with a variety of feeders and food, but they are not here now. Does anyone have any ideas as to what is going on?