“Today there are three billion fewer birds than there were in 1970”
—The Atlantic, 9-20-19
The bright yellow goldfinch
who turns brown in the winter
to match his mate is gone from the feeder;
the power lines are bare of starlings.
Brown swallows have been swallowed
into invisibility. Tiny hummingbirds,
their red whir and dart and hum
outside my window, all gone.
These mornings in spring I don't wake
to robins singing but to a startling quiet.
My red cardinals who cracked seeds
with their short thick bills are absent, too.
Bold noisy blue jays, the ones
with black necklaces and blue crests
have disappeared into the ether.
Mourning doves, their soft calls like an owl,
also gone. Add them up
and they become the rainbow colors
of loss, like gasoline spilled in water—
crow, nuthatch, flicker, grackle, oh.