Song birds

This sucks.

Biologists in New Mexico have sounded the alarm after thousands of song birds were found dead in recent days.

New Mexico State University Professor Martha Desmond told local media that the reason for the mass die off is a mystery but could be tied to smoke from wildfires, or the recent cold weather.

She says the number could be in the millions.

Scientists have reported North American bird populations have declined massively in recent years.

I know that swallows used to be abundant around here and now I very rarely see them. Barn swallows and violet greens, both, have all but disappeared from Seattle.

Some birds – including migratory warblers, swallows and bluebirds – were seen acting strangely before their deaths, according to witnesses.

“It’s devastating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything this horrible in my life,” Prof Desmond, who works for the university’s department of fish, wildlife, and conservation ecology, told KRQE-TV.

“When you’re there, you know, picking them up off the ground and seeing the extent of it and then looking at all these carcasses come in,” she continued.

Via Birding New Mexico:

New Mexico residents are finding dead birds throughout the state, both migrant and resident songbirds like these Western Bluebirds. Ben Bauer (Jemez WL technician) found 12 dead Western Bluebirds Soda Dam in Jemez springs (9/10/2020). He witnessed some that were still alive in a little cave (see the picture) huddled together. He also mentioned that some of the birds were actually in the warm water that is at Soda Dam.

US Forest Service personnel are surprised at the adult birds that have died. Some of these species are year round residents and are accustomed to such weather.

The recent storm was record breaking – the precipitation we received in Jemez was very wet -heavy snow (only like ½ inch above 7,500 ft.) and maybe their plumage had not yet developed for winter weather. Another theory is that the fires raging in other states may have released toxins.

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