Look Up. Look Around
By now, most of you have noticed the stark absence of squirrels and birds, except for a few flocks of sparrows and an occasional blue jay. It was on August 16th that my usually musical and chatty back yard was deadly silent. I walked the neighborhood and found it the same. Very sad.
I finally went to Euclid City Hall and was told this was due to West Nile virus, most commonly from mosquitos. The critters weren't just gone, they were dead. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) website can be accessed for much more information about this. It is apparently quite widespread throughout the state and even the country. .
Most of us have heard of West Nile before this. But I've been around a long time and have never seen it so severe: having seen only two squirrels and one robin in over a week. This is quite a dis-regulation for the balance of nature. Every creature contributes to the ecosystem and habitats of all the other creatures and plant life, including the ones we hardly see, such as insects and rodents. So different opportunists will move in to take advantage. I am not a biologist, so what's next...I don't know.
Of course people can be infected with West Nile. A healthy immune system is able to resist the infection. The news usually only covers it when people are affected. It's not new, but this comes as a reminder to do your part. Standing water is an invitation for mosquitos to breed, so please be diligent in emptying any outdoor containers that hold even the smallest amount of water. If that cannot be done, adding a drop or two of dish soap will break the surface tension and prevent their ability to lay eggs in the water.
Long time Euclid resident. Personal trainer, YMCA exercise instructor (now at senior center), health and energy practitioner. Christian. Animal and nature lover. Contributed writing to original Observer.