SCORES & OUTDOORS: Bird disappearance is phenomenon that exists nationwide


by Roland D. Hallee

Two months after writing an article about the lack of song birds in our area, the feedback continues to pour in from all over the country, not to mention from friends and acquaintances whenever the subject surfaces. Everyone has also commented on the extremely large number of crows that have emerged in our area.

Even in my backyard, where we generally have a multitude of bird varieties, it has been quiet. We have completely cleaned out the bird feeders and restocked them, to the point where we have even purchased new ones, and other forms of bird seed dispensers like nets, seed balls and containers.

The problem is universal, it seems.

Mimi replied to me, “My neighbors and I also noticed a very sudden decline in feeder birds since mid-September in the Catskills as well. It is so sad to not have the birds about though there are geese and crows, so hopefully the others will be back.”

Sj says, “Over the last two years we have noticed the decline of spiders on our property in mid-coast Maine. The mosquito decline is possibly due to the second year of a drought. Wild bees, and our bat [population] all seem stressed and in decline. I have kept daily journals for 25 years, making daily notes of weather and wildlife. The odd absence of birds is ‘different’ this year, for us as well, and another alert to change in our environment worth keeping track of.”

Msdarlene writes, “We are in central New Hampshire and have always fed birds with multiple feeders and a varied diet of sunflower seeds, hearts, nuts and suet. We have cleaned out our feeders monthly and replenished the food and still no birds in sight. We normally have to refill our feeders twice a week. Since September 2017, our woods and feeders are silent. No birds, zero, zilch, nada…scary quiet. I hope they return, I sure miss them.”

Rich speculates “that the malathion aerial spraying for zika vectors has done damage to large insect populations.”

Finally, Lyn, of Fairfield, writes, “Wow! This article came up on my Facebook feed. Some friends and I were just talking about how we have no song birds this fall. I said I thought they had been driven away by massive crow populations, just as you observed, too. They are all I see. I am sad to know this is happening all over. I hope the Audubon Society is right that it’s just a normal migration shift, but I am missing the birds very much.”

With the first measurable snowfall this fall, only 12 days before the official winter solstice, we will keep vigil as to the turnover in bird varieties. We’ll see if the cardinals arrive, along with the European starlings that come around in the winter. Also, don’t forget the pigeons and mourning doves. Not to beat a subject to death, but since noticing the large number of crows around, the pigeon population seems to have taken a hit. Since the crow onslaught, I have noticed no pigeons in my yard, which is extremely unusual. There also seem to be more seagulls than normal. Is that another sign of changes in the environment?

It’s probably time we pay attention to what Mother Nature is trying to tell us.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

Name the original six teams of the NHL.

Answer here!


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