Further Scientific Study is Needed
Deceased specimens are being sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon. There, the crisis will receive further analysis. Desmond, however, is continuing to work hard to find answers. She knows it could be weeks before results come back from government labs – and the potential ecological ramifications are too great for further delay.
“Over 3 billion birds have died since 1970. Insect populations are crashing, and this is just an unprecedented mortality… Climate change is affecting the abundance of insects, it’s affecting the volatility of the fires, and the scary thing is this may be an indication of the future.”Martha Desmond, NMSU
Both insectivores and seed eaters are perishing within the mass die-off. If you live in the affected area and wish to help, you can do so by downloading the iNaturalist Mobile App – or by reporting to their website. The app is a collaboration between the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, and is helping researchers identify which species and regions are experiencing losses.