Sunday, 6 June 2021

Where are the birds now?

Writing about our political problems is easy because there are so many. The past few years have been particularly busy. It is true to say that due to easy use of the Web, Bloggers included, commentary and opinions are now worldwide. In many ways that’s good and in others it’s a bad thing. Us humans have not yet obtained self-control in using the Internet. But despite all of that there is an item that I have not heard of as yet. It is to do with Nature. When I was an ‘ondeugend’ (Dutch-naughty) chappie every summer we could see dozens and dozens of swallows flying and wheeling in the sky above the city. Even more in the countryside. Catching the numerous insects. Since marrying a Welsh beauty (they are all beautiful over here) I have seen a decline every year. But this year is the first year I have not seen any swallows, house martins, swifts in our sky above the Rhondda valley. There might be a few stragglers here and there but the hundreds are no more. What could be the reasons? Well, apparently the scientists have decided that insects on which they live have declined sharply. In fact it has become a worrying fact that bees and other pollinators have virtually gone from our gardens. So a few years ago I planted a cotoneaster plant as I noticed in someone else’s garden that bees swarmed over it when in bloom. It is true the garden wall against which the  cotoneaster grows is now also home to bumblebees. I also noticed that bees are flying around the top of my house and getting under the eaves. So, OK so far. But no swallows. The other thing is climate, too hot further south? Hunting? Italians seemingly are particularly fond of killing birds every year when the swallows migrate. Nesting opportunities? That was a problem also with another once numerous bird, house sparrows. Our modern homes have less chance of nesting under the eaves! I have not seen a house sparrow for a few years! A great pity that we, as humans, do not take much greater care of our companions in the world and instead do everything to destroy their habitats. Hopefully we will wake up when there is just one pair of everything left. Let’s hope there’s one chap who has built a boat.

Edit - Sunday 13/6/21 - I have just seen a family of 5 swifts flying high. The air pressure is high, hot weather ensures updrafts that take insects up. The swifts follow. But I'm happy to see at least  some. But again it is pretty dismal.

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