If you came looking for Apple Guardians, you found it! Only the site name has changed. All else stays the same. Welcome back.

February 10, 2011

National Bird Feeding Month

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag."

February is National Bird Feeding Month.

This national event was created by the National Bird Feeding Society to advance and publicize the wild bird feeding and watching hobby.  There's a new theme each year.  The 2011 theme is "Most Wanted - Americas Top Ten Backyard Birds." 

Ok, so you're not being asked to hang out with Mary Poppins and spend your tuppence on increasing the pigeon population in downtown London.  (Though that does sound pretty awesome!)  But I am encouraging you to pick up bird-feeding as a new hobby this month.  I know you're busy, but this is minimum effort and maximum delight and pay-off. 

Why February?

February has been identified as one of the most difficult months for wild birds in the US.  During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive.  This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild bird's natural diet of weed seeds and insects. 

I thought all birds went south for the winter.

Most, but not all, birds migrate south for the winter.  And when they do, you could possibly live in their southern territory.  Take the herring gull, for example.  It's year-round range is Canada, and it can be seen migrating only as far as the Alaskan coastline for winter.  And the Purple Finch is known to spend it's winters in Minneapolis and Buffalo. 

Here's the percentage of the world's birds that are endangered:

76% = Birds that are not threatened, reasonably safe, stable.
16% = Proven to be endangered or threatened, vulnerable
8% = Critical or entirely dependent on conservation.

The well-being of one species, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on the well-being of many others.  It makes good global sense to pay attention to how birds are thriving, both close to home and around the world. 
So, what's causing the problem?

One hundred years ago, the main threats to birds in the United States were over-hunting and clearing of forests. Now habitat loss is the main reason bird species are endangered.  States like Massachusetts, once cleared for farms, are now mostly forested.  The remaining farmland is being sold for house construction as the population spreads out.  Because of these trends, many grassland birds - species that require fields, meadows, and other grassy places - are endangered in Massachusetts and other eastern states. 

And habitat isn't being lost only in North America.  Birds that migrate to the south face habitat loss on their wintering grounds.  Migrating birds need forests and other habitats in Central and South America, which are disappearing at a rapid rate. 

Birds and Biodiversity

There are between 9500 and 10,000 species of birds worldwide.  Why is it important that there are so many bird species in the world?  Does it really matter?  Will it change your bird-watching experience? 

The Big Picture

If you're like me, you care about nature and want to understand how the many species on earth depend on each other.  We're concerned about maintaining biodiversity, the dazzling variety of life on earth.  That variety includes all species and habitats combined, and every little piece is a priceless part of the whole picture.  As human activities destroy habitat and change climate, some of the earth's species may be lost before we even discover that they exist.  And when a species is lost, near you or far away, other species can be affected.

The Power of One

But what can a single person do to help preserve biodiversity? 

More than you think!  Even one person feeding, studying, enjoying, and understanding just one species can make a difference.  Feeding the birds around you will make you a better citizen of the earth, and a better friend to all life. 

"Early each day to the steps of St. Paul's,
the little old bird woman comes...
In her own special way to the people she calls,
come buy my bags full of crumbs.
Come feed the little birds, show them you care,
and you'll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare;
all it takes is tuppence from you.
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
Feed the birds, that's what she cries,
while overhead her birds fill the skies.
All around the cathedral the saints and apostles look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling each time someone shows that he cares.
Though her words are simple and few,
listen, listen, she's calling to you.
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
Though her words are simple and few,
listen, listen, she's calling to you.
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag.
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag."

- "Mary Poppins."

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Widget by LinkWithin