Sunday, May 11, 2008

Birds on the Decline

I know that this is a United States based blog and that this article is in reference to Britain, but this is a world wide issue. I was reading The sound of silence: Britain's lost birds and this struck me:
In the quarter-century since Michael Walter came to look after Blean Woods, they have suffered a remarkable series of declines in their breeding bird species. Eight have become extinct altogether, birds that were nesting in the woods when he arrived, and have now vanished. He enumerates them: cuckoo, redstart, wood warbler, golden oriole, hawfinch, willow tit, yellowhammer and starling. Seven more species have suffered severe declines: turtle dove, tree pipit, spotted flycatcher, whitethroat, marsh tit, nuthatch and jackdaw (some of them barely clinging on). This has happened despite the fact that the warden is an expert on actively managing woods for birds, and has spent 25 years striving to make Blean as ideal an avian habitat as it could possibly be.
I am a backyard bird watcher. I have a small two acres of land and have spent years making it bird friendly. Carefully studying native plants and birdscaping, bird species food preferences, providing fresh, clean water in a system wild birds can use easily, leaving dead trees for bird homes and woodpeckers to feed from and raise their young, let alone the limited species which will eat from feeders. I am an not exactly a professional here, just someone who believes in coexisting with avian friends. Some birds I used to see often and now I haven't seen one in years - like the red-headed woodpecker. Common enough but where have they gone in my area? It's not over built.

But eight species extinct since 1982 from an area maintained for birds? Is anyone else afraid?