Now that you’ve been spending more time at home thanks to COVID-19, have you noticed anything different while outside? If you’ve noticed more birds and bird activity than normal, you’re not alone. Being home and spending more time in your yard means more opportunities to see and hear the bird activity outside.
The start of the stay-at-home orders also happened to coincide with the start of the birds’ nesting season, which means lots of activity and a whole lot of singing to establish nesting territories and attract a mate.
Naturally, you may wonder if changes in human activity — more feeding of the birds, less traveling, and quieter urban areas — would have a good effect on wild birds. If true, that would be one positive outcome. Especially since in 2019, a big study came out showing a population decrease of 3 billion birds in North America since 1970.
One thing that became noticeable immediately was less traffic and quieter cities. In the first week of April, vehicle traffic was 48% lower than it was during the pre-pandemic months of January and February, according to INRIX. Then, consider all those office buildings and business districts with fewer people around. That provides more quiet places for birds to nest and raise their young.
Here's another possible benefit for the birds: more people are getting out to count and observe them. According to eBird, the spring of 2020 saw a 46% increase in bird sighting submissions to the citizen scientist app, and on May 9, the worldwide bird count event known as Global Big Day saw a record 50,000 participants flocking in to report 2 million bird sightings. Scientists use this data to track the health and movement of birds, and their research can reveal important information about our climate and the state of our natural world.
Will all this end up helping the birds, though? The best answer is: Wait a year. We may discover the shifts in human activity — less travel and possibly a higher interest in feeding the birds — did help their survival.
Until then, keep your feeders filled with a mix that features the highest quality ingredients to keep birds energized and healthy. Lyric Fruit and Nut Mix features a gourmet blend of seeds, shelled nuts, and dried fruit that draw beloved birds like chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, and waxwings to your feeders.