Saturday, January 1, 2011
Happy New Year! (And what you can do for conservation in 2011).
HAPPY NEW YEAR to friends, readers, fellow birders!
That Red Knot up there was one of the last birds that Warren and buddy Dan Haas saw in 2010, down at the Ocean City, Maryland, inlet.
Like too many bird species, the Red Knot is in serious trouble, thanks to over-harvesting of the horseshoe crab eggs it depends on to fuel it on its migration from the tip of South America to northern climes. With that in mind, here are a few things we can all do promote birds and conservation in the new year, while we enjoy and chase birds. Many of these come from a list developed by our dear friend Paul Baicich.
1. Buy the federal "duck stamp." It costs $15, and almost all the proceeds go straight to purchasing more land for federal national wildlife refuges. That means more birds, and places to see them.
2. Contribute time and effort to a Christmas Bird Count, or other bird and wildlife survey.
3. Vote the environment. And bug your congressman, senator, governor and other elected officials on environmental and conservation issues.
4. Take steps to prevent bird strikes at home and, if possible, at the office. Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year from such collisions, especially during migration.
5. Feed the birds. It's cheap and fun!
6. Buy organic, shade-grown coffee. It protects the wintering habitat of neotropic migrants like warblers, thrushes, vireos and tanagers that we enjoy here in North America from late April until October.
7. Reduce your carbon emissions to help Mother Earth. Turn off unnecessary lights, use public transportation, and consider making your next car a hybrid.
8. While we're on that subject, consider ways you can offset the carbon emissions (and we're all guilty of this) from thousands of miles driven each year chasing birds.
9. Join (and/or donate to) a conservation or environmental education organization of your choice. Some of our favorites (links are over there on the right) include the American Bird Conservancy, Optics for the Tropics, and Saving Birds Through Habitat.
10. Become more knowledgeable on conservation and environmental issues by reading up, attending meetings, etc.
11. Talk about birds and the environment with non-birding friends. You'll be surprised at how interested they often are.
12. Keep those cats indoors!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, and Good Birding!
Warren and Lisa