Birder's Eye View

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring dawns and other news

"There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter..." - Rachel Carson

As I made my rounds to refill the birdfeeders in the gentle light of dawn, the world seemed to echo with the songs of hundreds of birds.

Titmice and cardinals, chickadees and sparrows, wrens and finches chirped out their music, which reverberated through the cool, damp air. They flitted through the trees all around, wary of my presence, but eagerly waiting for me to hang up the feeders so they could come down and feast.

Just as I watched the first light of winter last December, so too did I see the dawn of spring this morning. Although infinitely subtle, spring seems to carry with it a sense of newness. Before the sun rose, I heard my first of the year whip-poor-will, and I have a feeling I will be seeing many new birds this season.

As you have probably noticed, springtime is not the only subject of this post.

Today there was an article in the local newspaper about how energy is contributing to the decline of bird populations. At the end, there was a link to an interesting website called "The State of the Birds," a report by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to analyze the status of bird populations in the US.

According to the report, of the 800 species of birds in the country, 67 are endangered, and 184 are listed as "species of conservation concern." Based on their studies, they found that in the last 40 years, birds living in desert, prairie, and sea environments have declined 30-40%.

The full report can be read online at the link above.

Although the decline in bird species is detrimental, the State of the Birds initiative and other similar and related efforts are hopefully the beginning of change. The more people are aware of how their choices affect the entire world, the sooner we can turn things around.

That said, until next time, happy spring and happy birding!


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