[CT Birds] scarcity of ducks

Greg Hanisek ghanisek at rep-am.com
Tue Jan 6 21:02:09 EST 2009

I can never resist responding to this general type of discussion. As someone who's written newspaper nature columns for many years, I often get the generic question that follows along these lines:

I had a lot of Species X at my feeder last year. I hardly have any this year. Explain (in great detail, preferably with some globally cataclysmic reason) why. (OK, maybe I just read the global cataclysm between the lines). 

Anyway it's quite normal for people to observe something in their very small sphere of operation and try to link it to much bigger phenomenon. This is almost always impossible to do. As Dave Provencher noted, at the very least we need to see what happens over several months before we can draw any kind of conclusions about the winter in an area as large as Long Island Sound. Even then, one winter does not a trend make. As various responses to the orginal comment show, various people see different things depending on where and when they're looking. 

As Dave or someone else pointed out, we need a lot of data over time. By the way, it's now very easy for everyone to contribute to the accumulation of this data by logging their sightings on eBird (check out eBird.com). All sightings become part of a national database. The number of Connecticut birders participating is increasing all the time. (All Larry Flynn's great numbers from the Norwalk Islands are on there, for instance).

Greg Hanisek

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