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Aspen songbirds silenced by crows, magpies

We are aware from the news reports this week that the population of wild birds, especially small songbirds of more interesting variety, has diminished considerably in the United States over the past generation or so. This is a very troubling trend.

I have been visiting Aspen regularly for over 40 years and have been a property owner for the past 12. During this time I have watched changes in the bird population in Aspen, which would mirror those that are being witnessed throughout the country. On earlier visits in the 1970s there was an abundance of songbirds. Some very interesting, especially birds like the blue jay, which we don’t have in the UK. It was a delight to see them as they flew around the West End back gardens at the time. I have not seen a blue jay now for many years, and in fact one very rarely sees a songbird of any description. However, what one does see is an enormous amount of crows, magpies and grey jays.

I know nothing about the habits of the grey jay, as we don’t have them in Europe, but I am aware they are scavengers, as we see them hopping around from table to table in the mountains at lunch time. If they are anything like their English cousins, they will behave in a similar manner to a magpie or a crow.

What the magpies and crows do is feast on eating the eggs of the songbirds. So, if there is a reason why the songbird population has diminished so much, one may have to look no further than the over population of crows and magpies. In Europe these birds are considered vermin and dealt with accordingly. Sadly, if we are to regenerate the songbird population in Aspen, which would enhance our overall experience of the wonderful surroundings we have, it may be the case something has to be done to reduce the crow and magpie population. These birds perform no useful function, they are a pest and a threat to the overall bird population environment.

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Chris Wright

Aspen and UK


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