OUR SILENT MOUNTAIN
Joe and I live at the base of a mountain in central Pennsylvania. I have been here since 1979.
The reason I am writing this story is because I want to make all of you aware of the drastic changes that are slowly taking place within the insect world, and wildlife.
You say "who cares about a bunch of bugs", but maybe you should think more seriously about them.
Needless to say insects are a very important part of the equation that helps the world evolve. Without them to pollinate flowers, fruit trees, bushes, gardens, fields, what happens then? Birds/woodpeckers, frogs, bats, and many other species will die? Think about it.
The following are excerpts from people across the
country who have noticed the changes where they live:
New York: My sister told me the same thing is happening around her house. For the first time,no birds.also she said the deer that comes into her back and front yard,you can see their ribs.They should be fat this time of year.
New Jersey: I agree with your every word. all you say is the same for here in Northern Jersey as well. I have noticed very few fire flys....less this year than last year. The katydids as well silent. What is a grass hopper. Haven't seen one in years. Always had one or two get in the house, no more. What about toads.? SAD ....... ~~~~~~~
Georgia: I agree about all the changes-it is not just your mountain, we have seen 2 red birds three times this year and always together and then they were gone. We never saw any other kind of bird nor any little critters. ~~~~~~~
Minnesota: There is definitely a change in the types of birds and absence of others. Cellphone towers and skyscrapers do not help at all because many are killed that way, and pollution. ~~~~~~~
Pennsylvania (southeastern): Has anyone noticed that there aren't many lighting bugs this year? I seen 1 this summer. I remember collecting them in a jar when I was young, even the grandchildren but there would be no catching them this year as there are none ,, I also noticed that the squirrels are less and the rabbits also this summer. Butterflies , I have seen some but not many. Haven't seen but a couple of horseflies .. Where are our natural creatures going to? What is happening to them and why are there less and less? I live with the woods behind me and I have noticed that "our natural creatures" are getting less and less.
Tennessee (foothills of Smoky Mountain):
This whole summer has been weird here---hornets are building on the ground and yellow jackets building on the side of the garage---they have traded places? Geese flew south in March, then flew north in May and June, came back in July. ONE hummingbird appeared this year---thats all----and we've got birds I can't identify, they are not native here. Mosquitoes are horrible! even worse than usual-
Michigan: We were employed at a northern Indiana campground for five yrs. We rode trails of dirt roads and tended to all the campers needs which required a lot of riding through the dense woods. When we first started, we had early morning shift and birds would be chirping so loud in the woods we would still hear them over the motor of our golf cart. The lake was full of fishermen and the fishing was plentiful. Then there were times we would get the night shift and at dusk the woods would be full of animal activity. Crickets screeching, daddy long leg spiders all over the buildings. Big frogs croaking in the ponds. Little frogs would be in such abundance we would have to scoop them out of the restroom showers so the ladies wouldn`t faint. Racoons running all over. Deer standing in the road as we made our way through the woods.
But it changed, year by year things began to disappear. The first thing noticeable were the birds.You seldom saw them or heard their chirping in the morning.
The honey bees stopped coming around.
The spiders disappeared. We would find deformed frogs laying dead along side the road.
The fish stopped biting, and the ones caught didn't look healthy. The woods became quiet. Where you used to see little black squirrels running around they disappeared. Things changed rapidly over a five year period. Is it really a mystery? I think we all know what is taking place. We live in Michigan and we had the coldest summer since the late forties. It`s already acting like fall..what will winter hold?
Pennsylvania: all summer long, John and I have been sitting out towards evening and we would watch the bats taking flight... well, the other night he said... you know...i wonder why we don't see any bats anymore... then it hit me... we haven't seen them in about the past 2 weeks! I really didn't think once established, bats would leave their area. Even the humming birds were more scarce this year.. we usually have a lot and this year... we only see 4 around here.
Some more of (my/bluejay) thoughts. It is with out a doubt, there are many places where there is an abundance of insects of all kinds. But watch closely, you may see a difference as time goes by.
Here on Joe's and my mountain we no longer hear the noisy locusts in August, or katydids, but for a slight buzz now and then, and only a chirp or two from a couple of crickets.
Why are the bears going into towns to get birds seed or anything they can find to eat? Because suburbs are being built at an alarming rate right into the woods, forests, and taking away the land that belonged to the wild life. Arson set fires in California are killing all wildlfe and insects in their path. Could it be the mountains no longer provide enough food for them, and suburbs and towns are the only place left to go. .
Daddy_long_leggers use to hang on our screen doors, we saw a handfull this season. Our windows, trees, and bushes used to be adorned with beautiful spider webs but no more. The butterfly house sets empty, as only a handful have visited our butterfly bush.
We used to see some very pretty dragonflies, and only two did we see this summer, and the creek below is all but void of them.
In springtime the woods would be so noisy when bull frogs croaked, that even I could hear them with my hearing loss.
Grasshoppers only a couple, and I did not see my praying mantis at all this summer.
What has really been very noticable here is the absence of our gang of gray squirrels. There were at least twelve here in June of 2009, and now there is only two. Squirrels live here year around, they do not hibernate. Other people have told me they do not see squirrels like they used to. Maybe the better question is why are they leaving and where did the go?
OVER SPRAYING: Everyone wants to get rid of this bug or that spider in the house and have exterminators.
The crop fields are sprayed to kill harmful insects, but are they also killing those that are needed.
Spraying is done along streams, public swimming pools, sports arenas.
Planes spray chemicals over the mountains to kill gypsy moths, but what other moths and bugs, are being killed. When we turn on our night lights we only see small bugs and small moths.
We only want pretty yards, and pretty flowers and trees, which I might add that veterinarians are seeing more and more pets being affected by lawn chemicals.
People want bug free camping areas, streams and rivers free of knats and mosquitoes for fishermen and boaters, but if we do not stop killing the insect world we will not have the beauty we want to see.
Another thing to ponder is all the space travel, jet trails, countries testing nuclear missles, and rockets, disturbing or polluting the atomosphere.
Ethanol which is supposed to be a clean burning fuel for cars, but is it in the long run? Satellites are yet another concern.
Insects play a vital role in our daily life. Indeed, about 30 percent of the foods we eat depend on pollination by bees, most of which are wild bees. But pollination is only one of the useful labors performed by insects. Insects keep the earth clean by means of an efficient recycling system, as they reprocess dead plants and animals. Thus, the soil is enriched, and nutrients that are liberated can make things grow. "Without insects," writes entomologist Christopher O'Toole in his book Alien Empire, "we would be inundated with dead plant and animal material."
Even with their drawbacks, then, insects are an integral part of the natural world on which we depend. As Christopher O'Toole points out, while insects can survive without us, "we cannot survive without them.
İBarbara L Carter aka Bluejay12
All rights reserved
Page design by Diamondavid & Bluejay12
Picture at top is used with permission by Lacey's Designs
Song Title: Circle Of Life
The circle of life starts with the smallest insect to all wildlife, and then to us humans who are responsible for the care of all creation. Every state in the USA, every country, in the jungles and swamps, everything evolves around the insect world. There are no clear cut answers, because it is a fact we do not want termites or carpenter ants to eat away the foundations of our homes. Or insects destroy our food supply. But what WE do affects all life.
I wrote this page in 2005 - click here to read
Click here to read: Are Fireflies Disappearing? Click Icon ~ My page listings.
Please Read Vanishing (2)
Click here to Read
Michael Snouszer's "Bats Disappearing"