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December 18, 2009

In the last 20-plus years, birds that feed on flying bugs have taken a huge hit – and no one really knows why.

I set out with my standard story-buddy Steve Howard to try to figure what’s going on with the birdies. We talked to some pretty knowledgeable people on the matter. 

Mike Cadman works for Canada Wildlife Services, and was the head of putting together the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario

Dr. Silke Nebel is an ornithology at the University of Western Ontario’s Advanced Facility for Avian Research. She was looking into population trends for aerial insectivores over geographic and temporal regions. 

Katie Marshall is a UWO PhD student who is looking at how climate change is affecting freeze-tolerant insects. We were hoping she would give us an idea as to whether something was going on with the prey populations which could in turn negatively impact the birdies.

Anyway, I tried to take a “behind the scenes” or round-table approach to putting this piece together. Just a bunch of experts trying to sort out a problem. This is something far different from the proclamation being handed down from the ivory tower that we’re so used to seeing in science/science writing.

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