About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why the Birds have stopped feeding

All of our "regulars" have stopped feeding. We saw a pair hummingbirds for a couple of weeks, and now, not even a siting? They were using the feeders. The chickadees used to deplete the window feeder daily and now if they eat a quarter of the oilers, that is a big day. Put up an oriole feeder in hopes to attract one. No luck yet. The 7 pairs of cardinals we usually have, dwindled down to about 2. Is it just because everyone is busy nesting right now and things will pick up once the babies hatch? Bugs are more plentiful now? Can't remember this significant of a drop off before.

It’s not unusual to have hummingbirds disappear from your feeders for a time. After their long migration, hummers and other birds were hungry and appreciated an easy meal to rebuild their energy fast. Feeders become very handy in the spring when natural resources are scarce. However a lot more food sources soon became available and the females started to nest.

If a Ruby-throat nests near your feeder she may appreciate quick bites to eat while incubating eggs but hummingbirds’ visits to distant feeders may become less frequent. If the activity at your feeder has stopped, you should still continue to clean your hummingbird feeders twice a week and change the nectar.

Cardinals, chickadees and other birds that live in Michigan year-round are early nesters. They have probably had their first batch of babies and are now taking them away from the natal territory for a two week survival training course. Don’t worry this is the time you may see babies from other yards coming to the feeders.

Also thankfully it looks like the cold weather is finally going to leave us for a while. The rains and now the warm weather brings a lot of bugs, a favorite food for many growing families. And vegetarians like the American Goldfinches are also enjoying soft spring leaves as well as a plethora of dandelion and grass seeds.
Right now life is good for the birds. They will still visit but not as often. Studies have shown that birds with access to feeders during nesting season have more success than birds without access to feeders.
And, don’t forget to maintain a birdbath. Water is a powerful attractor and will increase the number and variety of birds coming to your yard. In fact parent birds will often bring babies to the bird bath as their first road trip.
Thank you Holly for sharing your photos for this post. If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts. 

Related articles:
- Can birds become dependent on bird feeders? http://goo.gl/GZYpke
- Do we stop feeding suet in the summer? http://bit.ly/GKWSRt
- Feeding Baby Birds http://bit.ly/GSHKwY
- Attracting Michigan Songbirds http://bit.ly/GKYw5q

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