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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Grass is an essential nest material for many bird species

This is a busy time for nest-building. I have cavity nesters — Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Black-capped Chickadees, and White-breasted Nuthatches — incubating eggs. In one case, bluebirds are feeding hatchlings. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, Baltimore Orioles, Barn Swallows, Cliff Swallows, and Eastern Kingbirds are gathering the materials they need to build nests. I earlier posted a photo of a robin sitting on her nest. The nest has been abandoned for reason unknown.

A female Baltimore Oriole gathering grass for her nest.

Barn Swallows use grass and mud to build a nest.

Cliff Swallows use mud exclusively to build their gourd-shapped nests.

Kingbirds also use grass on their nests.

Some bird species in France reported in serious decline

Birds in agricultural areas in France are reported to be in long-term serious decline.

 

Scientists wonder of this is reflected in other European countries.

 

A story about regional and national reports of this appeared in the April 11 edition of The New York Times.

 

The declines are said to be impacting even common species, generalists in habitat and food preferences, species adapted to living among humans.

 

This report follows another detailing what is termed a “devastating” loss in insects in Germany. Insects are reported to have declined by nearly 80 percent in the past 40 years. 

 

This loss is thought to be happening throughout Europe.

 

France and other European countries are experiencing significant expansion of land being used for agriculture and chemicals used to control insects. 

 

Loss of habitat and a food mainstay are possible (probable?)

causes of shrinking bird numbers, here as well as in Europe.

 

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