The birds in our yard totally disappeared when the intense, widespread spraying of pesticides began in 1999 after the first case of the West Nile Virus was discovered in New York.
About three years after this particularly intense period of pesticide spraying, I started to see an occasional bird in our yard. This summer, after eight long years, I am now finally seeing a more normal number of birds around our home.
Prior to 1999, we had so many Blue Jays that I was beginning to consider them a nuisance. We had black-capped chickadees in our evergreens, nests of robins and cardinals, as well as bees and butterflies, but they all disappeared--our yard felt absolutely sterile.
The June 15, 2007 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the "Audubon Society calls for quick action after finding stunning declines in 16 once-common species over the past 40 years."
Our birds have been disappearing for a long time. Yes, loss of habitat is a problem, but I believe our use of pesticides is an even bigger problem. Pesticide use has increased 50-fold since 1950. The slow decline in our bird population parallels our increased use of pesticides.
National news recently reported honeybees are disappearing, which is a direct threat to our food supply. I believe our prolific use of pesticides, and other chemicals we pour on our lawns and golf courses is the major cause of our disappearing wildlife. The more we use poisons in our environment, the more wildlife disappears. The black-capped chickadee has not returned to our yard yet, but I have hope that it will return again some day.
Please use natural, non-toxic means to control pesky bugs and weeds.