Hopkinton, MA
Hopkinton, US
5:35 am, Sunday, October 1, 2023


Letter to the Editor: Clear-cutting bad for birds

by | Nov 28, 2022 | Letter to Editor

I receive informative emails from the Audubon Society and Cornell University, both highly respected avian institutions focusing on birds and their changing populations. Apparently and alarmingly in 2022, many species are in a significant state of decline; across the U.S. there are downward trends in all habitats. From my Hopkinton backyard I have seen all of the species listed below and probably more. I am concerned that with the continued rapid pace of development in our town, accompanied by the thorough and dramatic removal of trees and related to the process, the shrinking of woodlands, natural open areas and ecosystems likely will impact the birds that breed here, winter here and remain here through the seasons.

I personally have witnessed the removal of trees and natural substrate from a development abutting my property and, as always, it was done completely so that not an original tree or fern remains with the exception of a plastic barrier corralling the small circular area designated as “wet.” The eliminated native trees, shrubs and ground-covering plants will likely be replaced by rows of arbor vitaes and evergreens, but by doing so will create a much less dynamic and specialized habitat for birds and wildlife.

If we don’t attempt to at least scale down the rate, size of dwellings in our town’s growth and the indiscriminate clear-cutting of trees, I wonder how our own bird populations will be impacted in the near future. A good guess is that we will have fewer birds migrating through, breeding and wintering here. Save some of the trees! We need to promptly change our ways or we will play a role in the decline or disappearance of many bird species. I doubt I will ever see an American woodcock again in my area; they are shy ground birds that need moist woods and wet thickets. If you ask someone who grew up in the town they remember them as a much more common sight.

Species spotted: Purple finch, barred owl , pileated woodpecker, wild turkey, turkey vulture, red-bellied woodpecker, common flicker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, woodcock, red-tail hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, eastern towhee, catbird, tufted titmouse, grackle, red-winged blackbird, cardinal, blue jay, vireo, pigeon, house sparrow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, chipping sparrow, chickadee, house finch, robin, wood thrush, eastern bluebird, pine warbler and cedar waxwing.

— Linda Connelly, Hopkinton

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