Completely silent forests
Haldre RogersHaldre Rogers is a graduate student at the University of Washington and co-director of the Ecology of Bird Loss project, which investigates the impact of bird loss caused by the invasive brown treesnake on the island of Guam by comparing Guam to three nearby islands with birds. She grew up in a small town in rural Vermont, taught environmental education in Northern California after college, and has spent the last nine years of her life observing, experimenting upon, teaching others about, and advising land managers on forests on four islands in the Pacific. She splits her time between Seattle and Guam.
I first went out to Guam in 2002. I was actually teaching environmental education at the time, and applied for this job to deal with the brown tree snakes, to see if they had spread to other islands as they're invasive on Guam. So I moved out there and then stayed there for three years, going to other islands to see whether snake populations had spread there. In doing that, I spent a lot of time just walking around in the jungle looking for snakes and got to compare what those forests looked like compared to Guam's forests, and realized there's a pretty big difference. Then I decided to go to grad school, and now I've spent the last five years looking at the impact of the brown tree snakes on Guam. The snakes ate all of the birds so there are no birds left in the forests. So this place I keep talking about is wonderful, except that the forests are completely silent and there's no bird chatter. There's nothing. It's a completely silent forest.