The Quad 30 Campaign

3352 Knollwood
West Bend, WI 53095

Noel's Journal

Home Page
Bird Checklist
Other Checklists
Where's Noel?
Bird of the Day
Daily Journal
Tomorrow's Weather
Pledge Form
Important Bird Areas

Breeding Bird Survey
  Fact Sheet

Fund Raising
Strange Happenings
Media Coverage
Noel's Quad 30 Journal

Saturday, June 19th
Herman, Michigan


The results of today's survey are troubling. I don't know if all the birds froze last night (37 degrees at starting point), I was asleep, I was on the wrong road, or my ears were plugged, but my total number of species - 60 - pales in comparison with the species totals for the route when it was run 3 times during the 1990s - 79, 95, and 90!

I can explain part of it - the bay between Baraga and L'Anse held only 2 species of waterfowl plus a lone loon compared to a variety of waterfowl during the 90s. The habitats along the route are succeeding from more open to more closed vegetative types. Whereas the 3 surveys during the 90s averaged 2 towhees, 2 clay-coloreds 2 vespers, 2 bobolinks, and 8 Brewer's, I come across none of these. I heard 2 savannahs vs. an ave. of 10 and tallied only 4 red-wings vs an ave. of 25 during the 90s. I did terrible with the swallows - 1 one tree whereas the 3 previous surveys averaged 21 trees!, 1 rough-winged, 25 cliffs!, and 5 barns. I have absolutely nothing to suggest as a reason for the swallow misses. For some species, I saw the same reduction in numbers (from previous surveys) as I did on yesterday's Ontonagon route; Least Flycatcher - ave. 14 vs 2 and Veery - 12 vs 4.

However, what is most troubling is that I saw some beautiful woodland habitat of several different kinds, and the silence was deafening. The weather was great - mostly sunny and little wind for most of the route. There just wasn't anything singing. Sure, there were a Red-eyed Vireo and Ovenbird at most stops, but ..... We hear so much about the causes for bird population declines and most of them rightfully center on habitat - there is habitat degradation, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, habitat isolation, etc. But here I was in beautifully looking habitat with no birds to occupy it. Are we reaching the point where all of the other factors responsible for bird mortality are kicking in in a significant way? We are taught that most bird mortality is compensatory - if they don't die from one cause, they will from another, and populations can compensate for them. But are we reaching the point where cats, tall towers, windows, vehicles, pesticides, and a multitude of other factors are kicking in and becoming true factors that explain bird absence from "good" habitat? I don't know, but I'm hitting the sack tonight thinking about this.

  Previous Day                             Today's Bird of the Day                                       Next Day