Sunday, June 17, 2007

First Global Warming Killed The Birds

Northern Bobwhite: Disappearing

Many articles published in the last week detailing the decline of bird populations, based on an alarming report from the Audubon Society. Birds are literally the canaries in our global habitat destruction; whether it is from global warming or the actions we humans take that accelerate global warming: We are the problem. And we need to speak up and stop what's happening to the birds, because we're next. Brings to mind Pastor Martin Niemöller and his famous poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left
to speak up for me.

Across the nation: Baltimore Sun (AP): U.S. populations of 20 common birds fall 50%

For the study, researchers looked at bird populations of more than half a million, which covered a wide range. They compared databases for 550 species from two bird surveys - the Audubon's Christmas bird count and the U.S. Geological Survey's breeding bird survey in June. The numbers of 20 different birds were at least half what they were in 1967.

Today there are 432 million fewer of these bird species, including the northern pintail, greater scaup, boreal chickadee, common tern, loggerhead shrike, field sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, snow bunting, black-throated sparrow, lark sparrow, common grackle, American bittern, horned lark, little blue heron and ruffed grouse.

The northern bobwhite and its familiar wake-up whistle once seemed to be everywhere in the East. Last Christmas, volunteer bird counters could find only three of them and only 18 Eastern meadowlarks in Massachusetts.

The bobwhite had the biggest drop among common birds. In 1967, there were 31 million of this distinctive plump bird. Now they number closer to 5.5 million.

Mid-Atlantic to the Plains: NYTimes: Meadow Birds in Precipitous Decline, Audubon Says

Illinois: Chicago Tribune: Bird numbers plummeting
Audubon study finds 'disturbing' decline in Illinois

Massachusetts: Boston Globe: With development, common birds are losing ground

In Massachusetts, several birds seen regularly three or four decades ago, including the Northern bobwhite and the Eastern meadowlark, have all but disappeared, according to the study.

Michigan: Livinsgton Press & Argus: STATE: Common birds are becoming rare, 40-year study finds
In Michigan, the number of northern bobwhites has dropped 97% since 1966, and purple martin numbers have dropped 95% over the same period. There are also far fewer red-headed woodpeckers, eastern meadowlarks and eastern kingbirds, said Caleb Putnam, a coordinator for the Audubon Society in Grand Rapids.

Montana: Great Falls Tribune: Montana bird species in decline

The state's lingering drought appears to be a major factor behind the declines of all five birds on the Montana list, said Steve Hoffman, executive director of Montana Audubon.

"There is strong belief that much of the drought may be due to global warming," he said. "We should all take steps to reduce that. It's going to affect all wildlife and our own quality of life."
New Mexico: Santa Fe New Mexican: Aububon: N.M. bird species threatened

In New Mexico, the list includes the mountain chickadee (down 83 percent), the horned lark, (81 percent), the loggerhead shrike (74 percent), the Western meadowlark (57 percent) and the pinyon jay (54 percent).

Ohio: Cincinnati Enquirer: 5 common bird species vanishing from Ohio's skies

In Ohio, the five common birds showing the greatest population declines are:

Green heron

Red-headed woodpecker

Eastern meadowlark

Northern flicker

Yellow-breasted chat

"These are not rare or exotic birds we're talking about," said Jerry Tinianow, executive director of Audubon Ohio. "They're birds that visit our feeders or congregate at nearby lakes and seashores and yet they are disappearing day by day."

South Carolina: Birds that once defined rural SC declining, experts say
In South Carolina, the society listed six species whose populations have dropped. They include the eastern meadowlark, northern bobwhite, little blue heron, red-winged blackbir, field sparrow and loggerhead shrike.

Texas: Dallas Morning News: State's mockingbird population falling
Researchers attribute 18 percent decline largely to urban sprawl

Washington: Longview Daily News: Common yard birds taking flight from Portland area

California: LATimes: Number of birds in state declining
Study shows that several California species have declines of 75% to 96%, part of a nationwide trend partly caused by shrinking habitat.

LATimes: Tourists witness a good turn for a baby tern
Boat passengers applaud as lifeguards rescue the drowning seabird next to a barge in Long Beach Harbor.

The steel barge, a former icebreaker named Arctic Challenger, has become a precarious artificial nesting site for an estimated 350 Caspian terns — slim, gull-like seabirds protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


"The fact that these birds have settled on this barge underlines a critical problem: We need more natural habitat for them," said Susan Kaveggia, a biologist with the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro. "Terns need flat, barren, sandy or pebbly land on which to nest. There's none left in the port complex, so they're moving in desperation from boat to boat to boat."

A year ago, more than 400 Caspian and elegant terns — most too young to fly — plummeted off two privately owned barges anchored not far from the Arctic Challenger. A few hours later, local beaches were littered with baby tern carcasses.

Caspian terns nest within coils of rope on the deck of the Arctic Challenger, a former icebreaker that has become a precarious artificial nesting site for an estimated 350 of the seabirds. The barge’s owner has agreed not to move it until all of the terns have migrated elsewhere for the winter.
(Genaro Molina / LAT)
June 16, 2007

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