Connecticut State of the Birds 2013: Long-term Population Decline of Birds that Eat Flying Insects

The Connecticut State of the Birds 2013 report delves into the mysterious population decline of 17 species of birds that nest in Connecticut and rely on a diet of insects caught on the wing.

Our Connecticut State of the Birds 2013 report, “The Seventh Habitat and the Decline of Our Aerial Insectivores,” delves into the mysterious population decline of 17 species of birds that nest in Connecticut and rely on a diet of insects caught on the wing.

Released Friday, the report identifies pesticides as a possible cause of the decline: pesticides kill the bugs that aerial insectivores eat, and so it’s likely that a reduction in the use of these poisons will help the aerial insectivores.

We’ll be in Hartford on Monday testifying before the General Assembly’s Environment Committee in support of two bills that would lead to pesticide reductions in Connecticut.

You can read the news release about Connecticut State of the Birds 2013 on our website, here.

You’ll also find a link to the report itself and to excerpts from each of the articles (along with a list of authors).

The news release also includes a link to a video of Friday’s news conference, and we’ve provided links to news coverage of the event.

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JEAN CRISCIONE February 25, 2013 at 04:32 PM
I have noticed a decline of birds on my property since the blizzard. I feed the birds that eat seed etc.
John O'Neil DVM February 25, 2013 at 05:33 PM
And still we keep spraying for mosquito control (which really doesn't help that much). This bird decline is the "canary in the coal mine." Which species is next, which disease increase can we attribute to increased pesticide (and herbicide use.
Bob Rogers February 25, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Thank you for the article, the link to the Audubon website was equally informing. Good luck with your appearance before the General Assembly today.
Leslie Yager February 25, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Roaming domestic cats & feral cat colonies kill billions of birds & mammals each year according to New York Times article on Jan 29: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/science/that-cuddly-kitty-of-yours-is-a-killer.html?_r=0
Steven DeVaux February 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Not unlike duck hunting, I think establishing a season to hunt feral cats is definitely in order. Anyone who let's they cat outside to roam should be made aware before the season begins. The cat problem needs to be erradicated.
raymond jaroszewski February 26, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Cat hunting ?? really??... Whats next Dog Fishing ??? Guns and bullets Americas way to solve all its problems?
Ken February 26, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Ray it is sometimes hard to tell when Steve posts something that is supposed to be sarcastic or serious. If you read enough of his posts you eventually learn to discern which ones have a serious point and which ones are posts where he throws out a crazy idea in response to something because the mere concept of the idea as a response would be beyond ridiculous. While it is true that cats are predators and little furry, fluffy or fluttery things can find themselves caught in a cats claws and mouth I am pretty sure he is not actually proposing that teams armed with AR-15's be allowed to hunt down cats for a 2 week period every year. I think Steve's intent in his post was back sided tongue and cheek humor in response to the NY times article about feral cats and indoor-outdoor pet cats.
Steven DeVaux February 26, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Who said anything about guns? Since when has a bow and arrow or crossbow become a problem? Single shot. Eliminates a pest not unlike a rodent. Fact is, it's time to reign in cats just like wild dogs and dog packs. Since when have cats, killing other wildlife indiscriminately, be given a special exemption from being hunted?
Steven DeVaux February 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Hang on. Next they are going to want to limit the number of arrows you can buy and the number of arrows you can carry in your quiver. Democrat Fascists will stop at nothing to disarm Americans. Even rocks can be their target at some point.
Wondering February 26, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Wild dogs, feral cats, zebra mussels, ravenous deer.......it will be hunting season 24/7/365.
Steven DeVaux February 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Only for a short while. Who's hunting zebra mussels anyway? I thought they were trying to cultivate them as an alternative food source to add to pasta dinners.
Thomas Crafts February 26, 2013 at 12:31 PM
This is the same pesticide problem that kills all the lobsters in LI sound. Why are we so concerned about West Nile Virus? It is pretty benign. Stop screwing around with mother nature, there are all kinds of unintended consequences
CB February 26, 2013 at 12:57 PM
The birds are disappearing, and it's pretty alarming. I spend a lot of time in the woods, and the forest is devoid of birds. I also agree that roaming cats kill a lot of birds. When I see a cat stalking a bird I chase it away, and I see it a lot. Cats shouldn't be allowed to roam the neighborhood. Dogs aren't allowed, why are cats. I think the rest are probably dying from all the insecticide people lay down on their lawns each year to kill the insects. You want a pretty green lawn and never think about the damage the chemicals cause.
Wondering February 26, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Just beware of trying to restrict the use of pesticides. You might be accused of unnecessary governmental regulation or restricting somebodies God given right to do whatever they want on their own property. Some people might even call you a Democratic Fascist or a Communist (if the two phrases can be used in the same sentence).
CB February 26, 2013 at 08:53 PM
We have screwed up this planet so bad it isn't even funny. Many people are so out of touch with nature these days, that they have no clue of the damage around them. Even if we stopped all the loss of habitat, removed the chemicals from the air and water, cleaned up the sewage in the water, and all the plastic bottles, among all the other things we have done to beat down Mother Nature, it still wouldn't stop the issues caused by the damage already done and the damage yet to come. It almost seems like Earth is like a fighter jet shot to hell in a dogfight, with the pilot trying to pull up on the stick to stop from slamming into the ground and dying in a horrible explosion. It might be too late to pull up.
joe_m February 26, 2013 at 10:14 PM
CB, a little bit of an alarmist? Really, the sky is not falling. Loss of habitat in CT? Screwed up the planet? Mother Nature knows how to really screw the planet, just drop a really big asteroid and you will get real climate change and species reduction. Now back to the birds in CT. I'm seeing more bobcats, hawks and owls, never mind the neighbors cat. Wonder what they are eating during these cold winter months? The report identifies pesticides as a "possible" cause. Kind of difficult to find the missing birds and see if they left because of the lack of food. However, the mosquitoes seem to infect more people each year with West Nile Virus or Equine Encephalitis. Seems strange that the bats caught a fungus that killed a large percentage of the population but the birds can't find all the bugs the bats are no longer eating. Sounds like a poorly researched report written with an agenda.
Digby February 26, 2013 at 10:40 PM
I hear you CB. Smart Alecs with all the answers would be wise to check out cancer rates in Connecticut. Other states are going down. But CT is well above the national average. The general thinking is all the pesticides and chemical goo we put on our lawns is causing the cancer. The rest of the country just deals with the bugs, and accepts a few weeds on their lawns and sports fields. But not us, we have money to burn, so we spend it on pesticides. End result, we are killing ourselves (along with the birds). It's almost funny. We have extra money... so we use it to kill ourselves. I think 1,000 years from now, society will look back at us and say, "What idiots."
CB February 26, 2013 at 11:36 PM
No, I'm not an alarmist Joe_m.. I never said the sky was falling. I just said what I believe to be true. If you choose to think differently, that's OK with me. I think and have thought for years that we all should put a little more thought into how we treat this place we all live.
John Pasnau February 27, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Digby Quote - I think 1,000 years from now, society will look back at us and say, "What idiots." I think so too. But it won't take 1,000 years. More like 100.
CB February 27, 2013 at 08:34 PM
1000 years, I can't begin to imagine what this place will be like then or 100 years from now. I will be peacefully resting under a piece of granite long before then. :)


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