Sudden disappearance of sparrows

My sparrows have disappeared virtually overnight! There are usually dozens around my feeders but as soon as the snow set in - just when I thought they'd be really desperate -  no sign of them! Any ideas?

  • Changes in winter weather often cause a disappearance or appearance of birds on feeders, which does not necessarily follow a pattern that to us humans would seem logical. Many birds that come to bird tables spend the autumn and winter months travelling around in flocks. Birds are creatures of habit, and each flock will regularly visit the same feeding stations. Because of this, you will either have plenty of birds visiting your garden, or very few, all depending on whether your garden is on a flock’s route or not. 

    Many birds do die through starvation in winter, but it's only if freezing temperatures continue without a thaw in the daytime for several days in a row that there's a likelihood of mass deaths.


  • Hi Hoverfly

    Welcome to the Community from me too. :-)

    I usually have several sparrows on my feeders but they have all disappeared except one who sometimes appears and sometimes doesn't.

    I think it's just luck of the draw at the moment. I expect that most people are currently putting out food during this cold spell, and your sparrows might just be trying out the latest restaurant. :-)

    I'm sure they will be back soon enough.

    Best wishes Chris

    Click Here to see my photos

  • In reply to Woodpecker:

    Hi Hoverfly, and welcome to the forum,

    You may see from my name that sparrows are my all time favourite. I have always had dozens of them, including hundreds of babies, but no longer!! I am devastated. I still have about 6 faithful ones, but have no idea where the rest are. They disappeared during the autumn, long before the cold weather. So I do sympathise with you.

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • A few years ago our council cut down a tree where a flock of sparrows roosted each night in winter and they just disappeared for a very long time.  A new flock has taken up local residence so for the time being I have plenty but if something disturbs their nightly roost-site we could easily lose them again.

    Alan Chivers of a site with pictures of the birds and squirrels that visit us.

  • In reply to BuggyRider:

    Hi BuggyRider,

    You know, you could be right in my case. About the same time mine disappeared, a neighbour chopped down a huge conifer tree where they roosted. I did worry about this at first, but convinced myself all would be well because I have thick, dense conifer hedging where they spent their days, and there are other tall conifer trees in the vicinity. Maybe that's the reason.

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • In reply to Sparrow:

    I have often said that we very rarely see sparrows in the garden, even though there are great numbers in the hedgerows, but at this moment I am watching 12 on the bird table. No doubt they will vanish when the snow melts!!

  • In reply to Brenda H:

    OOOoooooo Brenda, you've got mine!!! LOL

    Congratulations - I know you rarely have any. Enjoy them!

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • In reply to Sparrow:

    Dear Sparrow and fellow forumfolk, You've all been so helpful - thank you! I don't think there have been any tree massacres recently and most of 'my' sparrows resided under the eaves. Perhaps, as Chris suggested, they're just checking out the competition. I hope so.

  • In reply to Hoverfly:

    it might be that your garden and food is quite a distance for them from their roost, and with the colder weather it is not economical for them to travel so far in terms of lost energy.  i notice the chaffinches don't go anywhere while there has been snow here, they use the feeders then sit in the adjacent tree until late afternoon feed time, eat again, then go home lol.  

  • In reply to lovelylowlife:

    Thanks Lovelylowlife, That would make sense but my lot live in our eaves a mere swoop from one of the feeders... And they're BACK!!!! I'm now wondering if the local sparrowhawk scared them away.