Evening Grosbeak – Another example of declining bird numbers
As a birder and keen wildlife watcher and enthusiast I have noticed a decline in both the numbers and species in my local area, rural Norfolk, where once there were good numbers of Willow Warblers, House Sparrows and Turtle Doves these species no longer occur. The most noticeable birds are now Wood Pigeons and Corvids with a couple of new species now resident, namely Common Buzzard and Little Egret.
It was therefore of great interest when I came across a similar story from Minnesota concerning the decline of The Evening Grosbeak. From a purely unscientific viewpoint it seem apparent that something is occurring across the world that is having an adverse effect on both local bird and wildlife populations.
There are many theories bandied around that might or might not be responsible from pesticides, unleaded petrol fumes, modern farming methods to name but a few. When added to threats from habitat loss it seems to me both our birds and wildlife are facing challenges that are slowly reducing their numbers and that unless more of us take an interest in finding out why, take action to stop the mindless slaughter of our migratory birds both to and from their wintering grounds, and help to protect our environment we will all be facing a future with greatly reduced numbers of bird and wildlife species to see and enjoy.
Here is a snippet of the article I found…
What is happening to Evening Grosbeaks?
In the summer of 1981, when my husband and I moved into our house in Duluth, Minnesota, Evening Grosbeaks instantly became woven into the fabric of my daily life. They were the first birds I heard calling in the trees as we lugged boxes and furniture into the house, and the first birds to visit our bird feeders—even before the first chickadees showed up. Day after day throughout the following decade, Evening Grosbeak calls provided a lively and cheerful background soundtrack for our lives, indoors and out.
Their numbers dropped in summer, rose in winter, and were huge during spring and fall migrations, but season after season, year after year throughout the 80s, Evening Grosbeaks were virtually always present in my yard. I had better luck with them than many people because my box elder trees attracted flocks flying overhead, but just about anyone in Duluth with platform feeders offering sunflower seeds had Evening Grosbeaks at least sometimes.
By the early 90s, grosbeak numbers seemed to be declining. I grew concerned, even mentioning my apprehensiveness in my first book in 1993. I thought it was part of a disturbing pattern in Duluth—during this same period, my neighborhood lost a lot of nesting birds, and the huge waves of migrating warblers and thrushes in my backyard dwindled. Friends of mine who lived in Duluth for several decades before I did also noticed the disappearance of many local nesting species—birds which have not returned. Duluth’s Christmas Bird Count data was tricky to analyze because the count circle changed in 1979, so the pre-1979 count historical dataset is separate from that post-1979, and the graphs of the datasets are on different scales. Pre-1979, the highest average Duluth count was 20 EVGR per party hour.
Read the full article What is happening to Evening Grosbeaks?
The ABA Bird Of the Year – The Evening Grosbeak
“This species is an excellent choice for the ABA to spotlight for many reasons: its disconcerting decline in various regions; its beauty; its embodiment of both the exotic and the familiar; and its great appeal to both neophyte and veteran birders.”
Read More about the ABA Bird of the Year – Evening Grosbeak
Just a quick note here to let folks know that additional coverage of the Evening Grosbeak’s decline is to be found in Paul Hess’s “News and Notes” in the March 2009 issue of Birding.
Here’s a PDF:
(The Evening Grosbeak item is #3, following “Eskimo Curlew Revisited” and “Finding Worthen’s Sparrow.” It appears on p. 28 of the PDF which also contains an interesting read on Song Sparrow varieties.)