Bye Bye Birdies

Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Gold Plated Bird
The real birds are leaving, gone by a third
(Lyrics rejected by Janis Joplin)


This is an Are Birds Going The Way of the White Rhino? story.

We live in the mountains of New Mexico, and the birds are plentiful here.

 Our hummer feeders are swarmed. Our peanut platform hosts the Jays (Scrub and Stellar's) in great number. Eight seed feeders pump pounds of black oil sunflower and assorted grains into titmouse, towhee, nuthatch (pygmy and standard), wrens of many stripes, sparrows and doves and robins and hawks of many shades... I could go on and do the whole list, but you get the picture, LOTs of birds hereabouts. (The mighty ravens are my favorite, but they don't come to feeders.)

Things aren't that good in Europe these days.

Farmland Birds in France Are in Steep Decline NY Times 4.11.2018                                                           

Now this is scary. Massive drop off in bird numbers, and it's mainly in the farming regions. So, food or birds? A taste of scary:

“In the agricultural land, there is something really bad going on.”
Over the past 17 years, the numbers of birds in farming areas have dropped by a third. Some of the species have declined even more: Meadow pipit populations, for example, fell by 68 percent. Dr. Fontaine described the situation as “catastrophic.”
(Read the whole story here.)
There was the "disappearing insects" story from Germany not long ago. And, hey, what eats insects as a major source of nutrition? BIRDS!

It seems pretty obvious to Scooter the Olde that insecticides are blitzing bugs and birds without bugs bug out.  I would be at least partially wrong.  Check this: 


Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies:

The Berlin Natural History Museum has compiled a long list of factors that contribute to insect loss. One factor — the widespread overuse of nitrogen fertilizer — enables a few plant species such as corn to thrive, while the majority of plant species that live in symbiotic relationships with highly specialized insects dwindle. (Read the article here.)


No bugs, no singing, get it?

Now there is resounding evidence that insects are disappearing in Europe. NOT MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THE DECLINE OF ANYTHING BUT HONEY BEES IN THE U.S.

There is evidence of decline bird populations, but not much news on bugs.

Bird Population Trends and Priority Species 
For over a decade, there has been growing concern among ornithologists and conservationists about declining trends in many North American bird populations. Initially, the greatest concern was for Neotropical migrants bird species that breed in North America and migrate to the New World tropics to spend the winter. This group includes species that are dependent on native grassland and shrub habitats as well as those that require large tracts of mature forest for breeding. Evidence of population declines comes primarily from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), a program administered by the Biological Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service. The BBS is a bird-counting effort conducted each June by about 2,500 volunteer birders in the United States and Canada.



As I said, the birds are plentiful in the mountains of New Mexico, but we are a long way from the giant fields of mono crops across the American farm belt where the insects are obviously disappearing.

Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Gold Plated Bird.
  The real birds are all leaving, gone by a third.






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