I would like to think this is fake news or just an isolated case. There are still plenty of bugs around here.
Speaking for the Hudson Valley, the northeastern Catskills and the central Catskills, being a resident since 1989, the collapse of the bird and insect
populations is absolutely apalling. In Kingston NY this fall, there were no crickets in September and October, and no katydids either. In late summer
early autumn, those insects used to be abundant. They were all but absent this year. Very few crickets in Woodstock, either. In 1989, bird species
were abundant and diverse. They are much more limited now, though certain species have rebounded in spite of the overall decline, specifically
bluebirds and bald eagles. Some species of woodpecker, like the pileated woodpecker, are still common. Other smaller woodpeckers have all but
disappeared. Mourning doves are rare now. They used to be abundant everywhere, in all seasons. Red squirrels are practically extinct, whereas they
used to be a common sight. Insects at night are only about 10% of what they used to be, all over the Hudson Valley and Catskills. Even mosquitos and
gnats are rare. They used to be a predictable, annoying phenomenon at certain times of year (mosquitoes in early to mid spring, mosquitoes in summer).
Butterflies -- almost gone. No more monarchs. I saw a swallowtail maybe once in the last two summers. And the many other species of butterfly and
diurnal moth that used to go flower to flower, mostly gone. Dragonflies? I saw a grand total of one last summer.
I do spend more time indoors and glued to a computer screen than I used to. But I still get out and hike in local nature, and I know my bird songs and
bugs pretty well. I grew up with a Mom who knows quite a bit about bugs and birds, is why. Where I've been living, it's a holocaust in the making, but
the actual cause -- which may well be climate change -- is all but invisible.
Similar trends prevail on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Except for birds of prey and vultures, there are fewer species than before. There used to be
an abundance of bird species and vigorous songbird choruses in the spring summer. No more so now. There are lots of robins -- they still have a lot of
worms to eat -- but most other songbirds are gone now. I have only heard a single cardinal in one month here, since mid-December.
This a global phenomenon. What some scientists have been saying -- that we've reached the tipping point of the next mass extinction -- is clearly
true. For now I can take some solace in the wildlife that still thrive in my usual haunts -- canada geese, robins, starlings, eagles, foxes, deer,
some racoons, bears. Too early to say if their food chain will disappear or not.