“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
― Jane Goodall
“Nature doesn’t need people – people need nature; nature would survive the extinction of the human being and go on just fine, but human culture, human beings, cannot survive without nature.” Harrison Ford
“Hundreds of species are facing extinction due to human impacts on the environment.” – Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
“If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.” –David Suzuki
“Humans regard animals as worthy of protection only when they are on the verge of extinction.” – Paul Craig Roberts
“This seedeater is a common to abundant bird in lowlands and foothills up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) altitude in semi-open areas such as forest edges, roadsides, low scrub and gardens. It also flocks with other species of seedeaters in pasture, weedy fields and other grassland…This species feeds mainly on grass seeds but also takes other seeds, berries and some insects.” Wilkipedia
Poza Honda Ecuador – Last year while participating in the bird census for Global Big Day, friends and I noted the strong aroma of 2,4-D pesticide that had recently been sprayed on the pasture by the road. The aroma lingered for months, and sensitive broad-leaved plants continued to die or curl for several more months. The young balsa trees showed lingering effects half a year later.
I’m not sure when I noted the Variable Seedeaters’ absence, but their numbers declined rapidly – and have been almost absent until recently. It’s been sobering to note the perfect seed heads on the pasture grasses, and to listen for the birds’ sweet songs but find there were none.
I rationalized: “Perhaps they are nesting. Perhaps they went elsewhere for seeds. Or they are molting.”
Month after month, I rarely spotted a seedeater or grassquit.
The cutting of trees, bamboo, the fire that morphed into a larger one – surely all played into the disappearance of those precious little birds. I wondered if the hotter climate pushed them to cooler areas. We’ve not had as many cool days/nights as the year before.
I began actively searching for the missing birds, but no. They remained MIA. Month after month after month I hoped for their return; I was thrilled to spot one or two.
Sometimes it takes a while to notice what’s absent from the normal scene. Another species was often missing: the Ecuadorian Ground Doves. (featured below and in the header image.) Continue reading