Terrence N. Ingram, president of the Eagle Nature Foundation and author of “Silent Fall,” hosted his 7th annual Big Bird Fall Day on Saturday, Sept. 3, at his home south of Apple River, Illinois. That day he documented just 74 birds of 24 species, the fewest he had seen in the past seven years of counting.
Ingram started his Fall Big Bird Day event after noticing he was seeing fewer and fewer birds each fall and felt someone needed to document this decline. He used to see hundreds and thousands of birds flying south past his home every day, according to a news release.
On his first Fall Big Bird Day in 2016, he saw 230 birds of 39 species. The number of birds and species he has seen has gradually declined each year since then.
This loss of birds indicates that birds are struggling to survive in the Ingram area and further north, where many of these birds live during the summer. Ingram strongly believes that this loss of birds is due to the increased use of agricultural sprays, whether aerial or ground. “Farmers have fallen victim to claims by big chemical companies that they can’t harvest without using these sprays,” Ingram said in the statement.
This year he saw only one bird of each of eight species, including: American Kestrel, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Crow, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Northern House Wren. He saw two birds of each of seven species, including: mourning doves, ruby-throated hummingbirds, barn swallows, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, catbirds and cardinals. He saw three birds of 2 species, blue jays and northern orioles. He saw four birds of each of five species, including: common nighthawks, robins, house sparrows, red-winged blackbirds and house finches. The highest number of birds of any species seen was 14 Eurasian collared doves, he said.
This year, Ingram’s wife, Nancy, and Drew and Gilbert Walter of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, helped track the sightings.
“I fear there will soon be no birds left to see and my book ‘Silent Fall’ will become a reality,” Ingram said in the statement.
For more information, contact Ingram at 815-594-2306.