In 1987, when Project FeederWatch began, Evening Grosbeaks were among the most common birds at birdfeeders during the Northeast winter. Now they're completely absent in many of those same areas. In the West, too, they're showing up in reduced numbers. Why have so many Evening Grosbeaks disappeared? The reasons aren't clear, and more research is needed. Citizen science, the information many backyard birdwatchers supply to Project FeederWatch, has raised the conservation alert about these birds. The season starts again in November.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Evening Grosbeaks
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Calls of Evening Grosbeaks]
Evening Grosbeaks are disappearing from backyard birdfeeders, and no one knows quite why. Each winter, thousands of North Americans tally the birds visiting their yards for a program called Project FeederWatch. [Black-capped Chickadees] Their efforts are yielding some startling findings.
In 1987, when Project FeederWatch began, Evening Grosbeaks were among the most common birds gracing birdfeeders during the Northeast winter. [Evening Grosbeak calls] Now they’re completely absent in many of those same areas. In the West too, they are showing up in reduced numbers.
Why have so many Evening Grosbeaks disappeared? The reasons aren’t clear. Could it be they’re picking up disease like salmonella at the feeders? Like others in the finch family, they are susceptible. Is it changes in the northern forests where they nest? Fewer insect prey like caterpillars? Definitely a puzzle, and more research is needed.
The information many backyard birdwatchers supply to Project FeederWatch has raised the conservation alert about the Evening Grosbeaks.
[Evening Grosbeak calls]
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
BirdNote celebrates the everyday actions of our listeners and the work of our conservation partners to reverse the alarming decline in North American birds. Together, we can bring them back. Learn more and get involved at birdnote.org.
Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Call of Evening Grosbeak 125382 recorded by T.G. Sander; calls of Black-capped Chickadees 49751 by Kevin Colver.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org June 2011/2020 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# SotB-EVGR-01-2011-06-15 SotB-EVGR-01b