Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Friday, May 09, 2008

Disturbing News

Today I read an Oconee Rivers Audubon email posting that noted the near absence of three or four bird species this spring at the State Botanical Garden in Athens – which has been identified by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.

Among the species of concern are Wood Thrush, which has been heard much less frequently than the last two years; Yellow-billed Cuckoo, only seen once this year; Red-headed Woodpeckers, not seen for some time now; and Swainson’s Warbler, which spent summers in the Botanical Garden through 2006, but was only seen a couple of times last year, and this year has not appeared at all. The beautiful songs of the Wood Thrush and the Swainson’s Warbler, the bold red, white and black of the Red-headed Woodpecker, and the exotic elegance of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo are all unique and integral parts of a southern woodland – and their absence is sad beyond words, especially if it continues.

Here in our neighborhood we also have not yet heard the song of a Wood Thrush or the call of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo this spring. Perhaps even more surprising here is the absence of Yellow-throated Vireos. Just last year, they were among our most regular singers all summer long – but this spring I have only heard the song of a Yellow-throated Vireo once or twice, and only in the distance, none close.


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