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Bird migration in the Midwest

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tuesday's Kansas City Star carried an intriguing article with the headline: "New Clues to Bird Migration Mystery." It now appears that birds have a molecule that can detect magnetic energy the way eyes detect light and ears detect sound. Scientists now believe that it helps explain how they migrate such long distances.

On the other hand, my martin house, which is designed to host migrating martins, is a monument to futility. After three years of being erected in the back yard at some expense and amidst high expectations, the house has gone unused by the martins.

Over the years I've evicted the sparrows with regularity, but, in spite of this, it just seems that the martins are teasing me. This year I was working in the garden and I looked up and saw a pair of would be nesters perched on the house. Within 30 minutes they were gone and a pesky sparrow was back trying to build a nest.

I theorize that there may be some sort of magnetic disturbance in the back yard similar to the Bermuda Triangle in which the magnetic fields seemed to get scrambled and the birds can't find their way.

Maybe there will be another article in the paper telling me about how birds can read, in which case, I'll gladly paint "MARTIN HOUSE" on the green roof, in hopes that I will finally have some of the welcome birds in my back yard.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College