(to the tune of “Where have all the Flowers Gone?” by Pete Seeger)
It was just a month ago that I wrote about the autumn equinox and listed the variety of birds that visited our feeder on that one day. For the past week, there have been virtually no birds eating from the feeder. Two or three mourning doves scratch and scavenge on the ground with the occasional squirrel, but even the squirrels have been scarce.
Ordinarily, we might see this kind of universal evacuation when there is a big arctic front (the now-ubiquitous “polar vortex”) sweeping across the plains and threatening ice, sleet, and freezing rain in the South. The animals tend to feed up and hunker down if they do not depart. But there is no cold front arriving, so why might they have left? If not weather, is there another type of disaster that wild birds might sense? An earthquake? Like when a bird landed on our sailboat at the moment of an earthquake 300 miles away in northern Virginia that shook the land down here. An asteroid plummeting toward the Atlantic Ocean with a massive pressure shield pushed ahead of its thousands of miles per hour flight? Something manmade? No? Hard to imagine that wild creatures would sense the remote actions of humans. Then again, why not?
Of course, I have searched the internet for possible explanations but found nothing that seems to apply.
This is not an occurrence we have previously experienced, but then the past 18 months have been filled with events not previously experienced: the pandemic, the collapse of the supply chain, the resurgence of the pandemic, vaccinations, mass resignation of workers, military departure from Afghanistan after 20 years, etc.
I continue to puzzle over the absence of the birds and cannot imagine anything positive about it.