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State of the birds

By Al Cooke
Posted Saturday, December 13, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - I think Catherine did an outstanding job of pointing out that the birds are about, perhaps just not at your feeders. And that it may be for good reasons.

Just a couple more points: I have often been asked about the absence of something that I hadn't noticed. And when I tried to notice, I found that absence was not obvious, to me at least.

Some birds that we consider year round residents are also migrants. So that the goldfinches we see in winter may have spent the summer somewhere further north. And the goldfinches that were here during the summer may now be somewhere further south. And there may be temporary absences as migration happens.

Finally, I looked at stateofthebirds.org report for 2014, a compilation of data based on observations and research from a number of conservation and research organizations. They document not only endangered and threatened species but also sharp declines in numbers of some species. I didn't notice any of the ordinary "feeder birds" included in their lists. They do make the interesting observation that habitat loss is frequently behind declines in bird numbers and that conservation efforts work - witness the bald eagle, brown pelican, peregrine falcon, whooping crane, and many others.

As Catherine well observed, there are a number of factors that influence where birds are and aren't. Thanks Catherine.

 
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