Passenger Pigeons and Lyme's Disease

    If you’re over fifty, like me, you might remember how most of us had never heard of Lyme’s disease until the last fifteen or twenty years. Not in people, not in dogs. I have even had discussions with my doggy friends about where this disease was when we were growing up.

    Enter the Passenger Pigeon. You remember hearing about them. Their numbers so immense they darkened the skies for days as they flew through, breaking trees with their weight as they roosted and fertilizing said area with two inches of droppings. They were arguably the largest populous of any one bird species in the world, (they numbered in the billions), yet it only required seventy years to exterminate them. We did that with our usual far-sighted, ‘We can worry about that later, right now we got to make a dollar’ lament. As you know I could go on and on about that, but let’s talk about tick borne diseases…

    In several studies, scientists have found a direct link between the increase of Lyme’s and other tick related diseases and the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. Why? Those huge numbers of pigeons ate acorns mainly, from the ‘big woods’ of the Midwest. When their numbers began to dwindle, acorns began piling up on the forest floor where the deer mouse and others such as the woodland and field mouse claimed the treasure and, having such a wealthy food supply, multiplied in kind. And so did the ticks. Several different varieties are more or less specific to mice and or rodents and these are believed to be the carries into other parts of the country.

    That of course is the abridged version. But it serves it’s purpose to this blog when discussing how our world changes in dramatic ways when the balance of Mother Earth is altered. It may not happen in the near future, but everything we do is related to everything around us. We have no knowledge of what or who is insignificant because we don’t understand the balance, and maybe we are not suppose to. It is possible that our function is to be part of the balance, not the manipulator of balance.

    At any rate, our dogs (and ourselves) are now greatly affected by an imbalance that occurred one hundred years ago. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

   What we do now, matters tomorrow.  And if there is blame to be laid, well, I’m guessing that would be us.


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