2018 is the Year of the Bird
They were the inspiration of flight, gave us the gift of music, and make a spring day that much better. Truly our feathered friends and one of nature's most beautiful treasures, they are birds. Their presence in the skies, the trees, our lakes and forests make these places complete. Birds add so much to our natural world that most of us take them for granted and wouldn't realize the impact they have on our daily lives until they were gone. This is something all scientists, environmentalists, nature lovers and all related organizations never want to see happen so the year 2018 has been declared the Year of the Bird.
The main organizations that are heading this plight are the National Geographic Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Life International along with over 100 other organizations and hopefully YOU! This year-long celebration of birds starts with the fact that 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This federal law between the U.S. and Great Britain (acting on behalf of Canada), protects over 800 species of birds from hunting, capturing, killing or selling. This includes the possession of feathers, eggs, and nests and does not discrimi- nate between live and dead birds. This law has saved and continues to save the lives of many birds but the reality is that many new threats have come up over the years and more awareness, education, and protection are needed.
Sadly, the three most recent contributors to the decline of birds throughout the world are all human caused: free-roaming cats, window collisions, and chemicals used in agricultural and suburban situations. Other factors such as habitat loss, pollution, and deforestation are also negatively affecting many species of birds as well as increasing the rate of climate change. Did you know the impact just mowing your lawn has on the environment? A typical 3.5 horsepower gas lawnmower emits nearly 48 kilograms of greenhouse gas per season. In fact, one hour of usage of a lawnmower is like driving a new, efficient car 550 kms or 40 new vehicles sitting idling for one hour. It is estimated that 56 million people in North America mow their lawns each weekend using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons and tons of air pollutants. You can see how the impact of such a simple act can go on and on in damaging our environment and the creatures that live within it including us!
You can join in on the Year of the Bird by signing up on the official site at www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/ year-of-the-bird/. Each month they will send you one simple action you can take to make a difference for birds and for the whole planet. They will also feature different birds each month, amazing photography of birds, and information that can help you make better decisions on your daily life actions. We don't start each day intending to do things that harm the earth but we just may not know the impact of our actions. By signing up you will get tips to help you make better decisions and how rewarding is that to find a simple change that can benefit us all!
The National Audubon Society asked many avian enthusiasts why birds matter. Here were some of my favourite answers.
• Birds matter because they give us wings. And because if we save the birds, we will save the world. Pepper Trail, USFWS forensic ornithologist
• Without birds, nature would lose her voice and the planet its most engaging envoys. Birds matter precisely because they matter to us. Environment is a concept. Nature a label. Birds are real, elements that live within our sensory plane. They spread their wings
Many bird species are willing to nest in bird houses.