Date: 6/18/18 10:28 am From: <khmo...> Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Where are the birds?
Over 30years of banding, migration and population study here and we
experienced and ever increasing paucity of birds. About 15 years ago I
wrote a report citing these losses. While many can be linked to loss of
habitat mainly due to factory farming, that didn't account for the lack
of song. We prognosticated at the time that populations within species
were undergoing a drastic diminishment.That has since been shown to be
even worse than we guessed ( based on American Bird Conservancy data
A result most noticeable was in song. With fewer competitors, birds in
lesser numbers arrive on native land and , if they find it still
existent, establish a territory. With little or no competition, the
territorial song is short lived -after all, why expend energy
needlessly? Defense of territory is seldom needed so in season song is
That doesn't mean it stops entirely but certainly far less than what we
new 50, 40 or 30 years ago.
Fast forward to the crazy migration we experienced this spring. Expected
species have still not checked in and we guess they either overflew or
were content to our south. We have the same experience with Veery here
and Wood Thrush has been declining steadily. Least Flycatcher, Warbling
Vireo are all missing and the fancy Thrushes once a stopover certainty
haven't been seen for several years. Yesterday, we finally had a single
Pewee. On the positive side we are inundated with Grosbeaks, Purple
Finch, Great-crested Flycatchers, cuckoos and others that are normally
here in much smaller numbers.
Looking South to the greater DC area, many of these species are still
there and that's abnormal. Check the ADK reports and they are also
having a strange year although I've not seen any thoughts on the subject
from that area.
The short answer is an unusual migration window with lots of weather
effect, rapidly declining populations creating an environment where our
old expectations are no longer valid.
I liked it much better several decades ago. We have stopped banding
passerines and happy we did as the disappointment would be even greater.
John and Sue Gregoire
Kestrel Haven Migration Observatory
5373 Fitzgerald Rd
Burdett, NY 14818