Date: 9/3/19 12:51 pm From: Alan Ryff <alryff...> Subject: [birders] What has happened? #2
Puttingaside the obvious there is a shrinking insect biomass (at least in my urbangarden)--less groceries, less birds.
DanaHoward wrote to me, “I am a great believer in habitat. In this case Iwould offer that the common nighthawk is a grass land nester. It ispossible that we grew up in a time when there were more grasslands. Withbovine hormones there are less grasslands here in the north as these dairiesare now defunct, do not pasture cattle and many farm abandoned in the 1970’sthru 1990’s are now woodland. Another possible contributing factor is thespread of the opossum further north. Also with the end of fur the raccoonpopulation has just exploded in the last three decades. Same with foxesand coyotes, although they seem to follow the rabbit in a predator cycle”
Dana Howard's approach to habitat makes sense.
Concerning the bird'surban environment, it has been 25 years since nighthawks have nested on theroof of the elementary school around my corner in St. Clair Shores or it hasbeen that long since I have seen a nighthawk as a June-July bird flyingabove my street. But there has been a rat population explosion inthe far east side of Metropolitan Detroit. Rats are bad news for nestingbirds.
But, what is going onwhere the birds winter? A double whammy?