Empty bird feeders

Eurasian Blue-Tit is one of the commest visitor if European bird feeders. © Gyorgy Szimuly

by Gyorgy Szimuly on December 17, 2010 · 2 comments

in Birding Western Palearctic

I’ve been feeding birds since I moved to my recent town. Feeders had been quite busy with nice number of species seen. This year something has changed as I could not see any birds on our feeder since mid of October. Seeds are untouched, the garden is quiet. No Eurasian Blue-Tits, Great Tits and even Eurasian Tree-Sparrows are missing.

What could be the root cause of the absence of seed-eating birds? It is hard to answer this question without targeted study but I have some idea. This year there was an extraordinary spring in Hungary and most of the part of Central Europe. Unfortunately it has a negative meaning. Never experienced heavy and long lasting rainfall with cold temperatures and lack of food supply caused heavy loss of complete clutches of most of the breeding species.

We found starving and dying chicks in the nest and exhausted adults sitting on the roads. It was devastating. Very bad breeding success have been reported country-wide regardless of the species or size of birds.

We faced the effect of this very poor breeding season in our annual bird ringing camp where birds are trapped and ringed on their southward migrating. Most of the species showed drastic decline especially in the number of juvenile birds.

And winter has come early in this season and we forecasted very low activity at the feeders due to ourobservations in the breeding season and during the migration period. Hopefully the remained wintering populations find enough food source to survive the severe winter to be ready for a new and more productive breeding season.

I would love to hear your voice on the status of your feeder.

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