Not to beat a dead horse, but pursuant to the news about bird declines to the tune of 3 billion birds over 50 years in our continent, if you'd like to see first-hand just how this is happening, then go out to Phillips Gap (Milepost 266 or so in Ashe Co. on the Blue Ridge Parkway) right now and see what happens when fossil fuels, earth-moving equipment, and people all get together.
What was formerly an incredibly productive wetland and small pond with lots of turtles, frogs, birds, (and I even saw an otter in there once) and a densely vegetated shallow and border area, is now a smoking wreck. The entire area has been bulldozed in what appears to be motivated by the need to water young christmas trees from the pond's supply. There's a dead snapping turtle right on the upper side of the pond. An incredibly sad, but all too common sight these days as our last remaining productive ecosystems are stripped away for profit. And all this in plain view from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The irony here is that the only thing being produced by this calamity is the deluded dream of simpler times invoked by having a tree in one's house during the holidays. If you care about NC appalachian mountain ecosystems and all the birds they support, you might think about not buying a live christmas tree this year, and in the foreseeable future. The environmental destruction could be a very high price to pay for this comfortable delusion.
In birding news I found not one but 2! Philadelphia Vireos today on the Mountains to Sea Trail by US421, along with 12 species of warblers. Its shaping up to be a very birdy fall migration season this year in NW NC.