We have had for about a week between 800 to 1000 Grackles on, our 
property. This morning they practically covered wing-tip-to-wing-tip 
half of our 1-acre lawn. Constantly moving, one section settling down 
while another section flying just a tad away; the whole flock moving in 
this manner, some of them going into the trees, but just as suddenly 
coming back down to the ground. For what ever reason they did NOT go to 
the feeders. Strange. Interesting that they spend a great deal of time 
either down by the creek or in the woods moving about. They are not 
roosting here, since we donít hear or see them at dusk, but they are 
back in the morning.

On another observation, and I donít know whether others are seeing this, 
but here in our area there has been a dearth of both bird and rodent 
species this year. Normally we have sparrows by now Ė not a sparrow to 
be seen. Our Chipmunk and Red Squirrel populations are also down. 
Normally we would be having Red Squirrels, between 2-3 feeding under the 
feeders. Not a squirrel to be seen. We have maybe two individual 
Chipmunks that I have observed, but no more than 3. Also, the visits by 
early migrants and birds just moving around is either non existent or 
down compared to the past 5 years.

We have 11 Cavity boxes, mostly for Tree Swallows. In the past 5 years 
we have had Tree Swallows nesting in at least 2 boxes. The cavity boxes 
were investigated by Tree Swallows in the Spring, but not one box was 
occupied by Tree Swallows this year. Instead, Chickadees took over 
several boxes and were very successful.

On our shore by Arrowhead Lake, every year we have observed Spotted 
Sandpipers working the Dry-Ki. Not one this year.

However, we have many Goldfinches, Chickadees, a few Blue Jays (not as 
many as a month ago) and a White-breasted Nuthatch. Havenít seen a 
Titmouse or Red-breasted Nuthatch for over two weeks, but we still have 
a Hummingbird.

Are there any opinions out there as to what might be the cause? Disease? 
Poor nesting results? They are all foraging elsewhere? Or just the time 
of year?

Richard Harlow
Arrowhead Lake
Milton, VT