If you click on the book cover below, it will take you to another audubon update. This article details the pathogens they have tested for and ruled out. It also points out that states that called for the removal of feeders have seen a reduction in outbreaks. This is good news.
We still do not know about pesticide contamination. I think seeds should be tested. I will continue to harrass DEEP and Audubon until I find out if they are testing seeds for fungus and pesticide contamination.
Also, more news that reminds me of my novel predictions! My novel revolves around dead fish and how a convergence of interrelated factors, notably corrosion of septic tank systems, contribute to algae growth and the resulting fish death wave. If you tap on the picture of dead fish below, you will be taken to another article that discusses our nation's algae problems. This environmental hazard not only suffocates fish, but also harms our health in ways unrelated to fish. In fact, even passive interaction with the environment this polluted can impact your health. Tap picture beneath my book cover and read.
Although this all feels depressing, there's also positive news. Democracy is working again (for now). Our institutions are not broken. Environmental agencies are investigating dying songbirds. Information is being disseminated properly, so everyone is informed and can all take action. Environmental institutions are exploring solutions to the algae issues. When a liberal democracy is healthy, there's hope. Proper regulations put into place by the people, institutions created by the people, reign in myopic greed and work for the common good.
If you've read my novel, you know that in my fictional story, set in the future, thoughtful restraint and proper oversight are subsumed by greed. We had lost our valid, liberal democracy.
Societal cost solutions require investigation, information dissemination, strong institutional involvement. Once democracy is weakened, then lost, corruption follows. Institutions are corroded or taken down. Greed and short term gain take precedence over long term thoughtful action.
If you love wildlife, if you watch and feed birds, then make sure we continue to have a democracy. Support our institutions. Believe in science. This is not political, it's reality.
Just in case someone reads this and wants to read my novel, I won't give too much away. I'll just say, my novel is set in the future and the ecosystem is corrupted due to our negligence. My character, Lorraine becomes obsessed with dying wildlife--dead fish, crows falling from the sky. Etc. While I set my novel in the future, I know we have serious problems right now that could lead us into a slow wildlife death march. I just didn't expect it to be this dramatic, this fast.
Basically, the picture below reflects my state of bird feeding in CT now. CT Audubon has recently recommended we take down feeders, even though to date birds appear to be healthy. The mysterious illness in songbirds that started in Washington D.C and spread to the Mid-Atlantic is now a concern for the Northeast and Midwest. So far, states include: Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana. And possibly, Tennessee, Florida and Rhode Island. Wisconsin Audubon has recommended taking feeders down, too.
As most bird lovers know by now, this is a songbird crisis, and it probably has a lot to do with us humans. This bird illness is spreading, causing birds to literally fall from the sky. Blue Jays, Grackles, Cardinals, Sparrows, etc etc. The eyes become infected and the illness seems to center on the neurological systems. If you click the picture of the empty bird feeder below, you will find an article updating what specialists know to date. Basically... not much. They've found no evidence of the typical infectious diseases (West Nile, avian influenza, Newcastle etc.) or parasite infestation, but they're still investigating. We're all awaiting results from tests for chemical compounds. Pesticides. If it's pesticides, we have a huge problem, because that is harder to reverse. I am assuming the specialists are also testing bird seeds for contamination. I have put a phone call into DEEP and CT Audubon to ask about what exactly they are testing for and if bird seeds could be a problem. I got voicemails, and we all know where those voicemails go. I'll keep reading and posting about findings.
In the meantime, if you use pesticides, please stop. Do you want a natural way to repel ticks? Go to the picture of baby ducks in the pond and tap it. I put up a link about some natural ways to rid oneself of those creatures. This is not just applications for your skin but also your clothes and lawn chairs. If you want to spray shrubbery, find companies that use natural substances, not pesticides. They are out there. Google them. Oh, and did you know Turkeys eat ticks? Yes, they do! Encourage turkeys to visit. I have one who visits and stays in my yard with her baby. Mom and baby don't not hang out too long because they have to constantly roam for food and protection. You stay in one place too long, a coyote is sure to find you. But, still, they're here. Oh possums eat ticks, too! They actually eat lots and lots of ticks, so be nice to them!
Look, we've lost almost 29% of birds over the past four-five decades. That's horrendous. Some of it's due to development. Some of it is due to too many to people allowing cats outside. Some are lost to chemical contamination. We should not be sad about this merely because we love birds. Birds are critical to our ecosystem. Imagine how many insects birds eat. Imagine if the birds were gone. The insect population would increase tremendously. That would impact our farmlands, our homes and yards. Imagine what would happen if birds did not spread seeds across our undeveloped lands. They help spread seeds for new trees with their droppings.
So, until the specialists know exactly what this songbird illness is, if your area is impacted, take up feeders. And stop pesticides!
Now for ducks.
The duck family have matured. I call the mom Sally. I call the babies, babies. I will continue to update their status and write on them. I suppose I can still have relationships with my water fowl if the birds now avoid my yard. (the blue jays are furious with me.)
The ducks (above) tend to walk around my yard and eat worms. To the left is a picture of them eating and lying around my backyard-- under my cherry tree. They look like adult ducks, but talk like babies. Quiet chirps. They don't appear to have flight feathers yet, but many are trying out their wings, flapping them into shape. So, I'm convinced they'll fly soon.
They roam my yard and eat worms. They bask in the sun. They get lost around my fence and require guidance. They emulate their mom, Sally, with their territorial vigor. Basically, all babies chase other ducks away. Drakes are particularly not welcome. They watched their mother chase away other ducks and then did it themselves. Back when they were small, it was fun to watch the babies chase the men away. I have a video of that actually. I will post it below.
I like to write about people, animals, dogs. I enjoy ideas, good books about ideas, funny books about ideas, funny people who have ideas, advocates for people who don't have voices to express their ideas, and animals who have ideas we can't understand.