While climate change and global warming are an ongoing cause for concern, monitoring the environment is a costly and time consuming activity for conservationists to carry out without help from local experts – of the feathered variety.
Climate change is an issue that has been discussed the world over and is of great concern. As climates begin to shift and weather patterns begin to change, so does nature. Wildlife are forced to adapt to conditions they are not used to, over and above the fact that their habitats are being encroached on. The first wildlife to have shown signs of adapting are birds. Migratory bird patterns have diversified and as the need grows, birds are moving to areas that are best suited to their survival, causing a cry out for cross border conservation efforts.
Like flocks of gulls converging on a rocky point, more than a hundred bird educators and enthusiasts are due to flock to Jekyll Island for the 2009 Bird Education Network National Gathering from February 22, 2009. The various bird lovers will be coming from schools, bird refuges, national parks, bird clubs and nature centers especially for the event.
The RSPB has been particularly excited, and also perplexed, at the highs and lows in bird populations this breeding season. On the one hand, it appears that many of their conservation efforts have paid off with the organization enjoying one of the best bird breeding seasons on record. However, at the same time a number of more common bird species are clearly struggling to deal with climatic changes and their numbers are dwindling.
Considered to be on the brink of extinction in Britain just over a decade ago, the bittern has made a remarkable come-back, with the species enjoying its best recorded nesting season in the past 130 years. The loud â€œboomingâ€ mating call of the bittern assisted conservationists in tracking the birds, resulting in a count of 75 males, an astonishing 47 percent increase on last yearâ€™s numbers and nearly seven times as many as the 11 which were counted in 1997.
The Farallon Islands, located in the Gulf of the Farallones off the coast of San Francisco, California, around 32 kilometers south of Point Reyes, are home to a growing number of Brown Pelicans that at one time were facing extinction. Conservationists at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory have noted that the numbers of these fascinating birds have reached a forty-year peak, which is great news for all who have been keeping track of fluctuating Brown Pelican numbers since 1968.
Terms such as global warming, carbon footprint and climate change are becoming part of every day vocabulary as people become more aware of the far reaching consequences of mankindâ€™s abuse of the planet. Researchers at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Durham University and Cambridge University have been monitoring the effect of climate change on bird populations in the United Kingdom and have reached some disturbing conclusions.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one in eight bird species is currently facing extinction. The most recent update of the Red List of threatened bird species listed 190 bird species as â€˜critically endangeredâ€™. Eight of the birds on this list were added this year and a further sixteen species have been given a higher threat status. In sharp contrast, only two species were found to have improved prospects of survival. Clearly things are spiraling out of control.
According to recent research and data, as many as 20-30% of all animal species will be at an increased risk of extinction if temperatures continue to rise. Experts estimate that an increase of more than 2.5 Â°C in average temperatures across the globe could have a deadly impact on existing animal species as it will make survival more difficult. This is especially the case for many birds.