Where are the birds

This year we have the same feeder and food, have added a birdbath and get nothing but a handful of sparrows a dove or two and some rooks. In previous years we have had all the tits, chaffinches, finches etc. Could it be because of the buzzards who have taken to soaring over our garden and adjoining fields?
  • Hi Christopher

    What food do you have out?

    I don't think it will be the Buzzards putting them off.

    It may be that someone else has feeders out now close to you, have your birds been missing long or just in the last few weeks?

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan:

    We use a standard commercial mixed seed concoction as we have done for three years.  We removed the feeder for two weeks in April while we had the massive rat population poisoned.  Since then we have seen no mature or juvenile birds except for sparrows.  In previous years we have had huge populations of blue tits, great tits, an occasional long tailed tit, loads of chaffinches, gold crests etc.  This loss of birds has been noticed by our only neighbour as well.

  • In reply to Christopher G:

    The only other thing I can think of is has there been any habitat change close by such as building work or hedge removal?

    The most popular food in my garden is sunflower hearts, you could try a small amount in a feeder and see what happens.

    A lot of people stop feeding garden birds at this time of the year with there being plenty of natural food available.

    You may only  notice a change now when the cold weather comes.

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan:

    We had an infestation of mice in our greenhouse, they ate their way through a bag of niger seeds, destroyed a washing line, hession for the plants in the pond. We have lots of Sparrows, Blackbirds a few Goldfinches, lots of Starlings, our neighbour has nests. I have noticed a decline in House Martins this year. Has anyone else noticed?

  • In reply to Topsy:

    We have been mobbed with juvenile starlings (demolishing fatballs and bird peanut butter). This is only the second year starlings have visited us and I love watching/listening to them. Otherwise the feeders have been fairly quiet - no goldfinch fledglings visiting this year (in winter we are overrun with goldfinches). There has been the odd robin, great tit, blue tit, etc (and a wren in our kitchen, probably brought in by one of our cats, that escaped unscathed). I'm assuming it is the weather and that the fields/hedgerows are full of food (we're in a suburban setting).

  • In reply to Topsy:

    This summer we have had Blackbirds, A Pair of Song Thrushes, 3 generations of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers including a baby juvenile  not long out the nest very small, and Jays visiting our feeding station actually hanging on and feeding on our suet cakes outside both windows from the eaves. We are in a first floor flat. Our bedroom being our hide looks out onto thick woodland. Other from the normal Blue Tits Great Tits no Long Tail Tits. No Chaffinches and not many Robins, Nuthatch has made an appearance this summer. We were blessed by watching a Blackbird coming to the suet cakes hanging from the eaves and going back over to feed its young blackie never have I ever witnessed. Blessed be. We have a constant stream of these big birds coming to the hanging suet cakes changing them every couple of days. Other from woodpecker, the other big birds haven't feed from window feeding station before ever during the 18 years I have been here. The feeding is frantic not normal. The ground is so hard, grass has gone, trees are starting to show yellowing leaves with this massive heatwave. Am throwing food down for ground birds but they still come frantically to the suet cakes..Climate Change and Global Warming and the Conveyor have slowed down significantly. We have 8 heatwaves this summer warns the weather met. We are leaving empty coconut shells on ground with water in them for the birds. Usual bird food mix my own mix for all seasons. Have lovely summer bird and nature watching. Pray for some significant rain the earth needs. No rain now 4 weeks now not until Thursday hopefully!!!xxx

  • In reply to Topsy:

    Topsy said:

    We have lots of Sparrows. I have noticed a decline in House Martins this year. Has anyone else noticed?

    Do/did the martins nest on your house?

  • In reply to Robbo:

    We get starlings seagulls magpies blackbirds crows  robins songthrush all trying to feed at the same time it’s like a mad house

  • In reply to bluey:

    This is the reply from the BTO regarding House Martins: "We will not know for certain whether or not the population has declined significantly since last year until we get the results from our structured annual monitoring schemes. As you may already know, BTO volunteers undertake counts for the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) (www.bto.org/.../bbs). This survey provides statistical evidence of any changes in numbers of widespread species including House Martin, so will highlight whether or not a decrease has occurred. A number of people raised similar concerns about House Martin numbers last spring following unusual weather early in the season, but the BBS results indicated that there was no overall change in population between 2016 and 2017 (www.bto.org/.../bbs-reports).  Hopefully the same will be true again this year. Local fluctuations in numbers do sometimes occur, particularly for House Martin, and may result from local conditions at the start of the nesting season, with decreases at some colonies areas being offset by increases elsewhere.  

    However, local changes may also relate to the ongoing declines occurring in parts of the UK. Unfortunately, House Martins have been in decline in England for a number of years which is why we ran our House Martin Survey (www.bto.org/.../house-martin-survey). We are currently in the process of analysing our survey data and hope to report some initial findings later this year".

    I hope this answers a lot of questions for others who have noticed a decline.

  • In reply to Topsy:

    We have had the same thing and are putting it down to a seasonal pattern, we are close to open farmland and feed commercial seed mix, Nijer seed and Sunflower Hearts. we also have a bird bath and a small water feature. Regular visitors now are Sparrows, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Robins (2), Goldfinches (with young) and Wood Pigeons, Magpies, Jackdaws and occasional Crows! We have also had our first Greenfinch but no Great or Blue Tits for several weeks now.