Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Noble Deed of Bird Counting

The annual citizen bird counts are a valuable tool for gathering bird migration data. I experienced it first hand today on two golf courses and a landfill (still in use!). We saw few birds, but cataloged the ones we saw. We scaled a fence, slid down a hill, and generally walked several miles. The dedicated birders have books, telescopes and binoculars to identify the species. We saw 28 different species on our tour.
The bird counting began in the late 1800s when the birds were killed to count them. Then, avid birders realized that many species were being threatened by the use of feathers in hats and jewelry(brooches). That led to the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both of which were designed to stop the use of feathers and protect destruction of the birds for the fashion industry. It has continued for over 100 years, based on citizen participation with compilation from the National Audobon Society.
I came home to find a lovely selection of feathered friends in my yard. I admire those folks that go birding regularly. I will be supporting preservation of the environment to allow all the various species to continue to enjoy their selected habitats. I think that birding as a hobby is not for me, as I don't like scaling fences, sliding down hills and peeing in the bushes.
I will commit to feeding and watering them in my yard as my contribution to that effort, and whatever ways I can help outside my private preserve.