We just wrapped up another spring of bird banding here at Beaver Meadow. Although we were delighted with some of the species we captured and released, we were once again disappointed at the decline in the numbers of birds. Our capture numbers seem to be diminishing each year during our banding sessions. I recall years of capturing over one hundred birds a day, while this year we are lucky to get thirty.
Although we don’t have any hard data to back up our theories about the decline, the situation is being repeated across the world. Habitat loss, pollutions, and climate change seem to be the major culprits in population decreases and range shifts. The National Audubon Society recently released the results of a 40 year study of Christmas Bird Count Data showing a northward shift in ranges of nearly 60% of bird species found in North America by an average of 35 miles. The data shows the major cause as climate change. As the temperatures rise, the birds are moving further north. Go to birdsandclimate.audubon.org to learn more about this issue.
Many of us see climate change as well as other environmental issues as something that is not happening close to home, and thus feel that it is someone else that needs to deal with the problem. Wherever the problems persist, we all need to work together to solve them. There are many simple changes to our daily routines that can make a difference. You can do a home energy audit yourself to see how you and your family can cut back on electrical usage. Tune up your car and drive less. Plant trees. And the list goes on. If we all partake in the solution, we can make a positive impact locally and globally.