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Vanishing Never to Return?

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Birds are vanishing. Since the year 1970 we have lost nearly three billion birds. We have taken valuable land where Greater Prairie Chickens fight for dominance over groups of females on leks and Whooping and Sandhill Cranes stopped on their great migrations south. Buildings have replaced the high cliffs where Peregrine Falcons once roosted. Even our efforts to make clean energy are taking a toll. The wind turbines kill birds that crash into them—most of them being songbirds and diurnal raptors, riding the air currents. The only birds not being killed by wind turbines are California Condors. This is because they have tags on their wings that signal the turbines to slow and stop. Climate change is also taking its toll. The Rusty Blackbird breeds in the marshes and wetlands of Canada and Alaska. These marshes have shrunk and so have the numbers of Rusty Blackbirds. They number a mere five million, which sounds like a lot, but compared to the Eastern Meadowlark, which numbers around 25 million, it doesn't. The California Spotted Owl population is decreasing because of deforestation. Not only are trees being cut down but the Barred Owl, which is an invasive species in California, is competing for nesting sites. Window strikes are also causing problems. It is estimated that nine million birds die from window strikes. Most of the birds that die from window strikes are White-throated Sparrows, Dark eyed Juncos, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Wood Thrushes. One way you can help prevent window strikes is to put window decals on the windows to help break up the reflections. Hawk silhouettes are the best. The last major problem I wanted to touch on is about  the chemicals and pesticides we use. During the DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) era Bald Eagle populations dropped. This was because the birds and fish they ate had the DDT chemicals concentrated in their flesh. When eagles ate the fish and birds, the chemicals became concentrated in the eagles’ tissues. These chemicals interfered with the calcium metabolism in the eggshells making them increasingly thin. Soon they were crushed beneath the nesting mothers. With the banning of DDT the eagles began to make a comeback. Now the Bald Eagle population numbers over ten thousand pairs. With the help of people, birds are coming back. Hopefully we can keep the birds from completely vanishing.

Ways you can help keep birds and other animals from vanishing:

  • Recycle what can be recycled so that plastic doesn't make its way into the ocean

  • Switch to using clean energy sources as much as possible so we can eliminate the amount of Carbon and other Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere

  • When you see trash in a public area pick it up so it doesn't wash into the ocean

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