General Question

Ducati_MST's avatar

Why did the birds stop coming?

Asked by Ducati_MST (90points) December 28th, 2010

I hung two bird feeders outside of my kitchen window. One was a tubular seed feeder and the other was a suet cage feeder.
There had never been feeders there before this time.
Three days went by before a single bird showed up to feed.
And then, all of a sudden, there was a lot of feeding activity with numerous birds coming to the feeders. For about three days the birds were all over the feeders.
And then they stopped coming. I mean it wasn’t gradual they’re not coming….they all stopped coming to the feeders at once. Bang!
So, I go out to see if maybe a cat or something was changing the scenery. Nothing changed.
So…..why would birds all get together and make a decision not to go back to a feeder that they seemed to love?

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15 Answers

lemming's avatar

Maybe they didn’t like what you’re feeding them.

earthduzt's avatar

maybe it was a pit stop while they were heading South for the winter?

Ducati_MST's avatar

I did not change the feed so the feed was not the problem.

lemming's avatar

Maybe someone else is feeding them.

bkcunningham's avatar

It probably was a pit stop in their migration pattern. Or maybe there was a hawk hiding in the treetops.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Were the weather conditions different when the birds were at the feeder?

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Coloma's avatar

Yes, most likley your feeders were a stop on a busy birds constant travel itinerary in winter.

If you keep feeding year round you will end up with a year round population of year round resident species.

Many species are nomadic in winter, Pine Siskens, certain finches, etc.

If the feeders went empty for even a few hours the birds might have passed by without your noticing.

Keep your feeders clean…I had to stop all feeding in the winter one year after an outbreak of avian pox.

If you are interested in doing any migratory bird counts, I ‘worked’ for Cornell university Ornithology lab doing ‘project feeder watch’ to contribute data of migratory winter species.

Lots of fun!

Ducati_MST's avatar

Regarding the migration thought I would add that a friend of mine who lives about two miles away has countless species of birds all winter all the time.

The hawk would have to be stationed there on a permanent basis?

The weather has been snow and cold. When I put the feeders out it was cold but no snow.

I’m totally baffled.

BoBo1946's avatar

I feed the birds in the winter time only. My regulars are Chickadees, Sparrows, Towhees, and Cardinals. These birds require seeds like thistles, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds. You have to know the birds in your area and feed accordingly. Be patient, they will return if you are feeding them correctly.

Ducati_MST's avatar

Another thought on this before we call it a day.

A friend of mine who has an almost outdoor aviary on her property said that birds who attend feeders like to have a close standing bush or tree or other landing ‘zone’ within a very short distance to the feeder.

They really aren’t comfortable flying in and out of the feeder with no close by ‘layover’ point.

My window feeder is about 50’ from any such station.

Maybe they just don’t like the flight distance?

Coloma's avatar


Maybe, or, it might just be a matter of discovery.

I had a ranch arch built in the middle of my ‘yard’ which is really just open forestland.

The feeders were hung from the arch, about 6 feet off the ground between two huge pine trees and the birds mobbed the feeders.

Finches, Grosbeaks, all sorts of woodpeckers, several different sparrow species, etc. etc.

Sometimes it takes awhile to get a feeding station established. :-)

Ducati_MST's avatar


[quote] Sometimes it takes awhile to get a feeding station established. :-)[/quote]

I think you may really have finally nailed it, my friend!

The birds are all over my feeders today.

Coloma's avatar

YAY! Fun!

It is a very rewarding hobby, I had to stop though, the deer, squirrels, flying squirrels and raccoons took over. I was spending about $60 a month on feeding and the birds got maybe 10% of my efforts. haha

I do have hummingbird feeders still, and..the wild turkeys are driving me nuts flying into my gooses corral and eating their food too.

sigh…’s a wilderness out there!

LyreBirdGirl's avatar

I agree completely with Coloma, even though I am new to fluther, I have been feeding and studying birds for a long time now. Although the resources in my suburban home are limited I have managed to squeeze seven or eight feeders (suet, thistle, sunflower, and mixed seed including millet and canary grass.) No squirrels or raccoons have managed to get to mine yet. It is winter and I get: chickadees, juncos, cardinals, American goldfinches, mourning doves, and ect. Even though a red-tailed hawk lives near and swoops in on the birds every once in a while, they come back an hour to a day later. Even if you were feeding a migrating species, native, year round, birds will surely come to your feeders! We even have cats that hunt the birds. Good luck with your feeders! :)

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