With the increasing loss of bird species throughout the world, bird conservation should be of great concern to all.
Why should we be concerned with bird conservation? Birds bring pleasure to humankind. In fact more than 63 million Americans are enthusiastic bird watchers and that number is growing. Try to imagine the world without the bright colors of birds or the intricacy of beautiful bird song. Birds also have a scientific value. They have taught us about flight, vision, physiology and much more. Birds provide us with an indication as to the condition of the environment. A decline in bird populations equals a decline in the health of our environment. They also warn us of the effects of our actions e.g. the negative effects of DDT.
The main reason for the decline in bird numbers and the urgency of bird conservation is habitat destruction. Birds require sufficient habitat to provide a continuous food source as well as nesting places. With the expansion of urban areas and agriculture, such habitats are being destroyed at a frightening pace. In an attempt to compensate for habitat destruction, man has created islands of natural habitat in urban environments, many of which do not fulfill the needs of birds. Another reason for concern is effect of non-native species. Cats are the second greatest threat to birds, causing a large number of extinctions. Other threats are poisons, pollution and man-made towers into which birds collide (an estimated 100 million birds in America die each year due to such collisions).
What can be done? Many non-profit organizations have been set up in the interest of bird conservation. To benefit bird conservation, wild birds need to be monitored. After data has been gathered, research can be done into the reasons for the decline of certain species. From such research bird conservation strategies can be devised. Such strategies include finding ways to maintain habitats in a suitable condition to be utilized by birds.
You too can help with bird conservation by educating yourself as to current issues affecting birds. Some people volunteer to assist non-profit organizations and participate in projects to monitor birds. If you are interested in bird conservation, contact either your local government or a non-profit organisation to find out how you can help with conserving native bird species. Consider making your garden bird-friendly by planting indigenous vegetation. You can also help by avoiding the use of pesticides, using products that won’t harm birds and preventing your cat from wandering outdoors.
Your assistance in bird conservation may vary according to your resources (time, money etc), however, any small effort will be a positive contribution to the continuation of our many bird species.