Missing birds

April 3, 2021 by Joshua
in Nature

I’ve been waking up a bit before 6am for the past few months, writing my manuscript with a writing workshop group that meets online that early. The sun rises soon after. That time used to be when birds chirped.

The other day I heard one, maybe two birds chirping. Yes, I’m in the middle of New York City, but more birds used to chirp. Even pigeons seems scarce in Washington Square Park. I see few ducks or geese in the river.

I see more rat traps than ever, in parks, at the bases of trees on tree-lined blocks. I think there are more rat traps because people eat on the street and throw out so much uneatened food and doof. I wonder if the poison reaches other animals.

Maybe I’m predisposed to see missing birds after reading about missing insects and the extinction rate beyond anything in the planet’s past. Maybe we’ve paved so much they can’t make it here. I used to see starlings and occasionally other birds in the city. I’m sure some live in Central Park. Now it’s only pigeons and sparrows. I have nothing against them, but variety would be nice. The lack of diversity feels foreboding. I can only imagine how many species lived here before humans arrived.

In my podcast episode with my mom, she commented on there being fewer birds a hundred miles outside the city. I remember growing up in Philadelphia seeing tons of warblers, finches, bluebirds, blue jays, cardinals, and more, though I’m sure nothing compared to a generation before and forever before then.

How is the situation where you live?

city sparrows

Too bad there’s nothing we can do but keep growing the population, flying around in planes, and buying things.

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