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Avatar for Sscape
Nov 20, 2021 9:14 AM CST
Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
I know many gardeners are also bird watchers/listeners. It can't be helped given the amount of time we all spend outdoors. Last year was the absolute best year we have ever had here in North Carolina for birds. The Cardinals and Bluejays were more numerous than in any previous year (30yrs.) that I have been watching birds. Last June my wife saw a small segment of local news that said that an unusual number of songbirds were being found dead, and that everyone in the area should stopped feeding them and wash out the feeders with a 10% Clorox solution. We did that, and kept the feeder empty. A week ago, with the temperatures getting cold, especially at night, I filled the feeder back up. Yesterday I realized that the only birds that were using the feeder were the tiny ones: Wrens, Chickadees, Titmice, etc.. Then it struck me: I have not heard or seen a Cardinal or Bluejay in MONTHS! Now I can not even Hear them. They have Always been a part of my daylily gardening world, and now they have simply disappeared! The problem is that the scientists who study these things can not even identify what is happening. They have ruled out at least a half dozen communicable bird diseases, the most likely ones to have caused this. But, they still have yet to figure this out. Has anyone else noticed this happening? They say it encompasses the entire East Coast.
I queried the subject and found this: https://www.businessinsider.co...
If the populations of these birds do not rebound, we North Carolinians, and folks in many other states, will have to pick a new state bird.
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Nov 20, 2021 9:43 AM CST
Name: Nan
southeast Georgia (Zone 8b)
Amaryllis Enjoys or suffers hot summers Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Region: Georgia Daylilies
Composter Cat Lover Butterflies Bookworm Birds Vegetable Grower
I have not noticed Cardinal song lately now that you mention it. I will prick my ears the next time I go out. We usually have some that hang around here in the fall.

The decline in songbirds has been getting a lot of press over the past several years. Many once common species such as whippoorwills are now rare.

We still have plenty of mockingbirds around.
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Nov 20, 2021 9:48 AM CST
Name: Ina Novodvorsky
Carleton Place, Ontario, Canad (Zone 4a)
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Dragonflies Composter Organic Gardener Daylilies
Irises Hibiscus Hybridizer Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Photography
From Ontario, Canada. I know that avian pox was detected in our area and people where asked not to feed the wild birds all summer. I have not noticed a decline in numbers. I have not yet put out my feeders, but the blue jays, cardinals, chickadees and finches are all starting to gather. I am waiting until we stay in the freezing temps. We also have chickens so am not looking to spread any avian diseases to our flock so I am not encouraging the migratory birds to stop. I am willing to help out the ones who stay, once it stays cold outside.
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Nov 20, 2021 10:21 AM CST
Name: Jill
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Hellebores Cat Lover Region: Maryland Garden Photography Butterflies
Bee Lover
There was a report of unknown disease spreading through bird populations here in Maryland this summer with symptoms of neurological impairment and eye swelling in the birds. We were told to remove all bird feeders including hummingbird feeders. Then in August were told that bird feeders could resume.

I had a nesting pair of cardinals in my backyard this summer and spotted the male just yesterday. I'm glad they weren't hit by this disease because I have really enjoyed my cardinal family.
Avatar for Wildbirds
Nov 20, 2021 10:36 AM CST

Waaaay back in the 1950's & '60's we had swarms of insects hovering over roadways (Not species identified then - or today - but usually referred to as 'gnats' or 'midges') Driving the old car along backroads and highways of rural Southern Ontario, would result in smeared windshields from their ever-present numbers. Near one of our largest lakes (Simcoe) the swarms of large yellow/olive mayflies 'hatching' out from the lake bottom would readily be seen on the roads & sidewalks & storefronts ..... Thousands of them! Enough to actually sweep & shovel them up to get rid of them.

Nowadays, and for many years going back, those swarms of both are either almost gone, certainly greatly reduced. Without getting into the science (Facts!) & theories of why the frequency & population drops are taking place (Complex & controversial oftentimes) it's common sense, common knowledge that most bird species depend upon such high numbers of available insects to feed their young, their nestlings. Even many seed-eaters as adult birds, feed insects to their youngsters in the nest.

Fewer insects means some of those nestlings would be going hungry, resulting in outright death by starvation, or poor growth, poor natural development, thus weaker fledglings. I can only speculate, but would expect there are scientific studies with factual data that indicates - or confirms - the reduction of available insects during nesting periods, contributes to the decline in wildbird, songbird populations. Their are several other contributing factors of course, but this one - insect populations - is a key one in my thinking.
Avatar for Sscape
Nov 20, 2021 3:08 PM CST
Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
Going from the most we ever had around to none at all in less than a year is pretty alarming. With much less birds we can expect a lot more insects around for the next few years. Good to hear that there are still some of these left so that their population can come back.
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Nov 20, 2021 3:23 PM CST
Name: Jill
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Hellebores Cat Lover Region: Maryland Garden Photography Butterflies
Bee Lover
Apparently the Brood X cicadas led to a baby boom in the birds around here this year with the abundance of big bugs!

It is so sad that you have no songbirds Greg. I hope they can bounce back.
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Nov 20, 2021 5:53 PM CST
Name: Orion
Boston, MA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Birds Butterflies Daylilies Dragonflies Foliage Fan
Lilies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Here, in this section of East coast the blue jays and cardinals are still aplenty.
Both love peanuts in the shell (unsalted obviously), and cardinals are ground feeders mostly so will not usually take from a bird feeder, unless it is first light before the other birds get there, or last thing at sunset after the other birds have gone home. I stopped feeding them over the summer as I had a cat visiting me and did not want to make the birds a tasty snack for the cat. But now the cat has disappeared I can get back to feeding these birds their peanuts. They have been around regardless of me stopping their food.
I have not noticed any reduction in bird numbers. Perhaps fewer catbirds than last year.
However last year was lockdown year so I saw tons more wildlife during lockdown, anyhow.
Gardening: So exciting I wet my plants!
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Nov 20, 2021 7:49 PM CST
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
My uphill neighbor puts feed out that larger birds like Cardinals and Blue Jays eat. I've seen Cardinals at his feeder, but that could have been early in the day because my kitchen table faces his feeder.

My downhill neighbor is a Gold Finch fan, and puts out feed that finches like.

I didn't notice a loss of cardinals, for sure. In fact, we stayed warm late, and they were still booty calling each other much later than normal. Their mating call is surprsingly loud. However, my neighbor definitely noticed a drop in gold finches this year. Usually I can surprise clusters of them eating Echinachea seed out of my garden in late summer, but not this year. I only saw one maie gold finch that I remember.

I did see a website that predicted a lot of North American birds may be moving farther north into Canada while they become more scarce down south. However they do it, I hope they find a way to survive.
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Nov 20, 2021 8:35 PM CST
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Azaleas Region: Massachusetts Organic Gardener Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs
Butterflies Birds Bird Bath, Fountain and Waterfall Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
I started feeding the birds again a few weeks ago, when we started getting frosts, I had read that it was safe to as well.

I have tons of birds, including hordes of blue jays, the ubiquitous sparrow, nuthatches, cardinals, several types of woodpecker, grackles and titmice, among others. I am lucky enough to live in an area that has a fair amount of trees as well as an open running brook. If birds are around here, this is where they are most likely to be.

So far, the numbers appear to be normal.
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Nov 20, 2021 10:15 PM CST

Sonatina
North of Boston

Hello friends,
This is my first entry. It has been a delight to read the helpful comments and to see the spectacular Photography.

We have noticed a decline in the number of birds here. I think that population numbers do fluctuate, however, I have felt that spraying is a culprit. My great fear, when I put the feeders out, is the Hawk who lives in a tall Spruce at the edge of the woods. We think he/she is interested in our two small dogs also.

The feeders went out a few days ago. We have had the company of several woodpeckers, Jays, a Cardinal pair, a few visits from a clay colored sparrow. and some of the other small and welcome birds we all hope to see.

Since I do not know how to sign in or out, this may reach you. It may not.

I hope it does, so that I may thank you all. Sonatina
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Nov 21, 2021 6:33 AM CST
Name: Nan
southeast Georgia (Zone 8b)
Amaryllis Enjoys or suffers hot summers Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Region: Georgia Daylilies
Composter Cat Lover Butterflies Bookworm Birds Vegetable Grower
Welcome! Sonatina!!
Avatar for Sscape
Nov 21, 2021 7:39 AM CST
Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
I always include a liberal amount of White Striped sunflower seeds (from Tractor Supply) in my feeder mix. The Cardinals and Jays prefer them over the popular (and cheaper) black sunflower seeds. I will hold off on them this year because there are no birds to eat them, except maybe a woodpecker that I have seen, but not heard. The little birds are throwing them overboard to the ground, much to the delight of the squirrels and chipmonks.
One of the articles that I have read about the birds said that one theory is that the cicadas have some fungus in them that is poisonous to the birds if they eat enough of them. I am not sure about that one because we did not have the overwhelming numbers of them here that other areas of the country did. I hope the experts figure this out and can suggest something that we all can do. It's really strange to go out in the yard and hear nothing but the traffic on our road.
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Nov 21, 2021 12:58 PM CST
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Azaleas Region: Massachusetts Organic Gardener Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs
Butterflies Birds Bird Bath, Fountain and Waterfall Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Welcome! Sonatina!

Greg, that is scary. Brings to mind the Rachel Carson book " Silent Spring".I'm sure spraying has a terrible effect on all the wildlife, that's why I don't do it. I've kept my yard organic and pesticide free for 30 years and there are no farms here, just suburbia. Sometimes I feel like a habitat island.
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Nov 21, 2021 10:58 PM CST
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Plant and/or Seed Trader Spiders! Seed Starter Garden Procrastinator
Peonies Organic Gardener Hybridizer Growing under artificial light Daylilies Container Gardener
Still plenty of birds here in NYC. I hear them & sometimes see them but don't feed them. Too many stray cats around. If we get over 6" of snow I will feed them because the cats won't be able to sneak up on them.

I remember when West Nile came through and killed all the crows. We used to hear them constantly, then silence. That was years ago and the crows have come back but not to the level they used to be.
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Nov 21, 2021 11:28 PM CST
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Azaleas Region: Massachusetts Organic Gardener Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs
Butterflies Birds Bird Bath, Fountain and Waterfall Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
I used to have tons of crows here. And there was a Murder of crows, thousands strong that would pull through here on some migration route. They would cover every tree limb for a day or two then move on. I haven't actually seen crows here for a while. I don't know if they succumbed to West Nile, because that was definitely a problem here for a while.
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Nov 22, 2021 10:55 AM CST
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
"Have no patience for bare ground"
So I made it my business to pay closer attention this morning after putting out the birdbath heater and filling up the feeder and suet feeder a couple days ago. I saw one Bluejay, two (male and female) cardinals, one red headed woodpecker and several of the regular sparrow. The Downy Woodpecker usually stick around all winter, so I always leave out suets. I don't refill the regular feeder when winter start to show his ugly face Rolling on the floor laughing
Thumb of 2021-11-22/Hazelcrestmikeb/ae1802
Thumb of 2021-11-22/Hazelcrestmikeb/c54990
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it

























is, is amazing, isn't it. MichaelBurton

"Be your best you".
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Nov 22, 2021 8:41 PM CST

Sonatina North of Boston
( Zone 6 a )
Hello Nan, and Thank You.
Here is a photo my tiny friend from Carolina, who comes out of his house whenever I go out. I wanted to think he was saying hello...My son says it's ll about territory.
Thumb of 2021-11-23/sonatina/21b495

Hello Zoia, and thank You.
These two photos are surprise visitors. A Pilieated Woodpecker and a wild turkey , who joined the group for Breakfast
Thumb of 2021-11-23/sonatina/171b26


Thumb of 2021-11-23/sonatina/dabc75

The concert on the 14th was wonderful. The Firebird was welcome, after such a long hiatus. Memorable.
Avatar for Sscape
Nov 23, 2021 8:43 AM CST
Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
Zoia, come to think of it, we too had huge flocks of starlings/small crows come in the early summer (late May-Early June) every year. They would drain the feeder in a flash---so that is the usual time I would stop feeding the birds and let them fend for themselves. However, they did not show this past year. There was just a handful of them. I shut down and sterilized the feeder because my wife saw the news cast that said to do that. They may have been the ones that brought the calamity to this area of the country the previous year.
After many months of not seeing or hearing cardinals, a young pair of them showed up this morning. Evidently the epidemic that hit this area has abated enough so that some of y'all's have come down by us to fill the void. It will take them years to repopulate, but at least now there is a ray of hope. Send some bluejays my way, too.
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Nov 23, 2021 8:54 AM CST
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Azaleas Region: Massachusetts Organic Gardener Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs
Butterflies Birds Bird Bath, Fountain and Waterfall Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hey Sonatina! I can't believe you came out to the North Shore concert…cool!

Greg, you're right. I had swarms of grackles and starlings, whenever they would descend on the feeders, I would have to stop filling them as they would empty them in an hour or two. This fall I've only seen one or two and the feeders take a while to empty.

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