“Birds have wings; they’re free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.” ~ Roger Tory Peterson
Every year, billions of animals migrate across the globe. This unmitigated need to travel is coded in their DNA, long journeys required to guarantee success of the next generation of their species. It is do or die.
Today, many of our North American migratory species of birds are in trouble. There is little question as to the main causes.
Weather, predatory animals, and distant obstacles regularly and faithfully reduce their numbers along routes to breeding grounds in the north or wintering grounds to the south. In the last century, these journeys have been made more difficult as reliable habitats are destroyed, not only eliminating nesting and wintering areas, but reliable food sources and safe resting spots all along the way.
For some bird species, the battle has already been lost. As other species begin to disappear entirely from existence, we will feel the repercussion of their loss. This is an insect’s planet, and as birds are efficient and voracious insectivores, we’d better start taking their success more seriously. Without them, we’d quickly be overrun by our exoskeleton’d little friends.
“Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble.” ~ Roger Tory Peterson
Many circumstances are beyond our control. Habitat loss, however, is the direct result of our species alone. As with other environmental issues of our day, awareness and education is key; we are not the only ones living on this planet.
This year, as in previous ones, the focus on International Migratory Bird Day is habitat loss.
Some things to ponder:
- Tropical rain forests contain over half of the world’s plant and animals species; they are quickly disappearing.
- Grasslands occupy about 1/4 of Earth’s land area; they are quickly disappearing.
- Backyards and balconies provide food, water, and shelter for migrating species; these are quickly growing.
- Urban residential and business development, modern agriculture, and livestock grazing all contribute to prolific habitat destruction.
Love Mom AND Help Birds
This weekend, Americans are generally focusing attention on another annual day created, no doubt, to grease the gears of The Great Consumption Machine. Hey Mothers: do we really need all that stuff to make us happy?
I think not.
Try some of these ‘gifts’ instead and celebrate your world’s migratory birds in the process.
- Go on a birding excursion with your family. Mother’s Day weekend is the perfect time to take part in eBird’s Global Big Day Event on May 13, 2017. All you do is count the birds you see and submit them for science. All that fun and useful too! Learn more about it here.
- Play the migration game with your kids at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. It’s fun and you’ll most likely learn something too.
- Put out sunflower seed and nectar feeders out for birds who may still be passing through your area on their way to nesting grounds. Birds get hungry too! Be sure to place feeders at the correct location to avoid window collisions or predation by cats or hawks. Keep your cats indoors during peak migration.
- Don’t eat a single bird today. There are plenty of other things to eat; give ’em a break.
- If you can’t live without your morning cuppa joe, try drinking bird-friendly coffee instead.
- Don’t buy consumables unnecessarily.
- Read some of DirtNKids past posts (below).
There’s great joy to be found in our fellow two-legged Earthlings. Find some today and every day.
Fun With Tweetie
Bird Banding – Logging for Science
Family Birding on the Coast
To all the Moms and Mums this weekend,
you should know that I think every day
is Mother’s Day.
Happy World Migratory Bird Day!
May 13, 2017