Preserving the natural habitat helps ensure the future for many species of birds. As the world becomes more industrialized it becomes paramount to identify and protect these vital wildlife areas where birds are known to frequent. By conserving these delicate ecosystems we can not only expect to save species from extinction but also ensure they prosperity for future generations.
Birdwatchers may be the first to recognize the necessity of conservation. Whether your birdwatching group is also your field naturalists group, or whether you watch birds on your own, you are probably aware of the beauty and importance of the natural environment.
If you’re looking for owls in the forest, watching raptors over open fields, or keeping an eye on local shorebirds, inevitably you know it is the preservation and protection of both wildlife and habitat that makes this possible.
Birds are beautiful, fascinating, and certainly amazing. Their mastery of flight has intrigued mankind since our earliest days, and is a balance of lift and weight. Gravity is harnessed and air flow maximized through the physics of bird wings, feathers, and the skeletal system and muscles that support them. Whether they are gliding or soaring, it seems like magic. When considering annual migrations, and the huge efforts expended to take birds from one seasonal home to another, we are left in awe.
CONSERVATION EFFORTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Conservation ethics must center around the importance of using resources responsibly, allocating them effectively, and protecting them to ensure they remain safe and viable. In simpler terms, and specifically for birdwatchers, we recognize conservation as keeping environments safe, clean, abundant, and healthy, so they can provide safe homes and rich food for all manner of bird life. By being a part of conservation efforts, we can take our appreciation and support for birds to the next level; making a difference to help birds survive and thrive
Deforestation, overfishing, and harm of biological diversity are all elements that threaten conservation for birds. Every ecosystem is a complex, inter- dependent matrix of plant and animal life that together compose the whole – any danger to one element may drastically and unpredictably affect the others. Global warming and clear-cutting present huge challenges to bird life, and are a result of human activity. We must seek to live in harmony by managing our environmental impact.
We are often reminded of water conservation in the warmer months, when watering and car washing bans are in effect. However, the birdwatching enthusiast would keep such concerns in mind year round, particularly if they are fans of shore and water birds such as gulls, ducks, geese, plovers, ibises, avocets, sandpipers, lapwings, curlews, and so many more.
Why not make every day one in which you recognize your love of birds by choosing water-saving technologies such as low-flow shower heads and toilets, responsible wastewater reuse, special faucet aerators, and rainwater harvesting.
JOINING BIRDWATCHING & NATURALIST CLUBS CAN HELP
Local birdwatching groups and naturalists clubs are often the biggest supporters of local conservation. By joining these organizations you are put in touch with the existing programs and volunteer opportunities you can become a part of to continue helping birds. Many of these groups are the first source of information on conservation and species management. In particular, birdwatching groups may support banding programs for monitoring endangered species, and re-introduction programs where appropriate. Volunteers often come together to maintain and oversee existing conservation areas, whether they are cleaning up waste or fencing off nesting areas for those birds who do nest on ground level.
Migration points are absolutely essential for millions of birds. Often conservation groups will use banding programs and observation to track flocks as they migrate, and mark every stopover point along the way. As a problem with any migration stop point along the journey can be disastrous, it’s important that groups identify, map, and protect all of them effectively.
We can’t just focus on conserving one environment or protecting the species itself. Conservation groups in different areas work together across the migratory path. They communicate with private landowners, companies, and organizations involved with residential development across the entire migration path. In doing so, they help keep an eye on protecting the birds while recognizing people’s living needs as well.
The National Audubon Society reports that a quarter of all bird species in the United States have experienced population declines since the 1970’s. However, the Audubon Society is a great unifying force in preventing further loss of birds.
Many birdwatching groups and naturalist clubs work in tandem with this society, making change possible. For example, the Audubon Society was recently instrumental in a victory for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The CRP protects private land currently used for restoring grasslands, forests, and wetlands, and has been widely supported by the Audubon Society since its inception. The 36 million acres involved are owned by farmers who receive payments for maintaining these areas as wildlife habitat, rather than developing them for agricultural use. While recently another bill was introduced that would threaten the CRP initiative, it was struck down in July 2008, thanks in part to the effort of Audubon Society members.
Other ways to help include restoration of many ecosystems including The Everglades, river banks, lake coastlines, and community park areas as well. Although the need to conserve bird habitat is clear, we need not fear it’s already too late. By getting in touch with your local environmental and conservation groups you could help volunteer both politically and physically, whether cleaning up the park or speaking out about pollutants and deforestation. Federal legislation is also being reviewed to protect environments from the introduction of outside species, which can have a profoundly detrimental effect on the delicately balanced existing ecosystems.
There is no shortage of ways to help, and so much that can be done. Take your love and support of birds to the next level by getting involved!