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  • Barbara
    Yes, I’ve noticed changes in bird populations over my lifetime of sixty years. I’ve been fortunate to live most of my life in southwestern Ontario, near Georgian Bay, part of the Great Lakes.  As a child, I remember asking my Dad how common bluebirds were when he was a boy. “ Oh, it was nothing to see bluebirds,” he replied. “They weren’t as common as robins, but you didn’t think anything about seeing a  bluebird.” I was at the end of my twenties when I saw my first bluebirds, and I recall it vividly. Building nesting boxes helped bring back bluebirds. Bald eagles and turkey vultures were unknown in this area decades ago, now they’re quite common. I remember the call of whip-poor-wills as a child, but seldom have I heard them since. We didn’t have cardinals around our place growing up, but they’re common in this area now, and I often seen them at our feeders. I suspect a pair have a nest near the front of our house. Meadow larks and bobolinks can certainly be found, but they’re not as common as they used to be. Farmers are keen to get their hay off in June instead of July, and many nests don’t get the time needed to fledge. And, there’s certainly less insect life than there was fifty years ago. I remember sniffing apple blossoms years ago- the tree would be alive with buzzing, flying insects. You had to be careful not to sniff a bee! Now, the wild apple tree behind the house will only have a few insects visiting on a sunny day. Great egrets nest around here now; they are a fairly recent summer resident. I miss the intense birdsong that used to happen on early spring mornings. Oh sure, it’s still there, and I realize my hearing isn’t as acute as it used to be, but I believe there are fewer birds now. So, all in all, I’ve noticed many changes in our local bird life over the years. Still, this time of year brings great joy as migrating birds return. I’ve noted 25 species of birds in my backyard this spring and I’m anticipating the pleasure of seeing rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, indigo buntings and hummingbirds. It never grows old!
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