Where are all the birds?
Every autumn, billions of small birds make their way from the continent of Europe all the way to Africa. As soon as spring arrives these birds re-trace their epic journey back to Europe to breed. The journey which involves crossing the Sahara Desert, the Mediterranean and even the English Channel is amazing given how small some of these birds are and considered one of nature's miracles.
However, recently the number of birds making the journey to and from Europe has reduced so drastically that ornithologists (scientists who study birds) are getting concerned. 21 of the 37 species that migrate to and from Britain have seen drastic declines of 50% or more. Two of them, the Red-Backed Shrike and the Wryneck have disappeared completely. The situation is as dire in other parts of Europe.
The big concern for ornithologists is that if the birds don't return to Britain to have babies, their numbers will decrease dramatically and they may soon become extinct.
Just like the disappearing Honey Bees (click on Permalink ) and Bats (Permalink click on), nobody knows why this is happening. Theories range from loss of habitat in Africa to the hazards the little birds face on their long journeys back and forth. Something is drastically wrong with the migration pattern and if scientists don't find the cause, these birds may soon disappear.
Next month ornithologists from all across Europe are getting together in Germany to figure out the cause and try come up with a solution to reverse this alarming trend. This is yet another mystery of nature that we hope scientists will be able to solve soon.