Some Winfield bird lovers have been concerned that the birds have been staying away from their feeders. Others say everything is as usual at their feeders. The experts don’t seem to be worried yet.

Cindy Stevens contacted the CourierTraveler about the lack of birds at her feeder. Stevens wrote, “A number of my friends, including me, have noticed that birds are noticeably absent from our bird feeders this year. Typically, swarms of all types of birds are feasting at our bird feeders and on the ground under the feeders. Not this year. I don’t know if this is an effect of climate change or not.”

Stevens said she put out her feeders after the hummingbirds left in October, but she hasn’t had to refill them yet.

Gavin Hooks, an aide at Cumbernauld Village, said they have many feeders there and they feed the birds year-round.

“Of course, some fly south for the winter,” he said, “but we always have birds, and we fill the feeders regularly.”

He said at his own home the birds seem to be coming to the feeder regularly.

Sharon Shetlar Taylor said she and husband Bill feed the birds all year round, but they have not been seeing them in their usual numbers this year. 

Among those missing are purple martens, kites and chimney swifts, Bill said. 

Sean Silliman, naturalist at Chaplin Nature Center, wasn’t at all surprised people haven’t been seeing many birds at their feeders this year. Because of all the rain the county has had, the plants have put out many more seeds than usual, Silliman said.

“Look anywhere. There are seeds everywhere. The birds have all that food available out in the fields. They don’t have to come into town to people’s feeders,” Silliman said.

When the cold weather starts and the storms come, the birds will move in closer to the backyard feeders, he said.

Max Thompson, author of “Birds of Kansas” (2011) is also in charge of the local area’s Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. Thompson said he thought people might not be seeing the usual number of birds because it is still between seasons — the summer birds have migrated south, and the winter birds are just arriving.

”The juncos have just shown up in our yard,” Thompson said.

He isn’t sure whether the bird numbers are down, but he’ll find out when they do the bird count in the middle of January.

“Get back to me then,” Thompson said. “I’ll know more.”

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