The world's bird population is dying. One out of eight bird species worldwide is threatened with extinction, a 40% upward tick since 1988. Biodiversity disaster is very real. The way humans run economies and their daily lives are the prime threat, but the most recent study by the National Audubon Society predicts:
"If Earth continues to warm according to current trends—rising
3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100—more than two-thirds
of North America’s bird species will be vulnerable to extinction due to
range loss. (A March 2019 study, suggests that drastic and immediate action will be necessary to slow warming to just 2 degrees by 2100.)"
Just as canaries were sacrificed to detect deadly underground gases during coal mining operations, birds are "sentinel species". Can you imagine a world without the wonderful Minnesota common loon? The mountain bluebird in Idaho? I could list a dozen more. What if one day in the very near future, your children and your grandchildren will only be able to hear these birds' beautiful songs through a digital file played on an electronic device? Our entire natural soundscape could go silent.
Our climate is changing 20 times faster today than it has during any period during the past two million years. However, if humans could slow the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), it would reduce vulnerability for 76 percent of North American bird species.
Our noisy world also is a form of pollution that affects our bird population. This article in National Geographic, authored by Carrie Arnold is a fascinating yet worrisome read:
"The research, published today in Science, is among the first to scientifically evaluate the effects of the pandemic on urban wildlife. It also adds to a burgeoning field of research into how the barrage of human-made noise has disrupted nature, from ships drowning out whale songs to automobile traffic jamming bat sonar."
"During the pandemic, the urban birds’ calls became higher
quality, each call packed with more information than before. The lack of
human noise also allowed the urban birds’ tunes to travel around twice
as far. As expected, the rural bird calls were the same before and
during the pandemic." - Behavioral Ecologist, Liz Derryberry
The biggest things you can do as an individual? Stop letting domestic cats outside unattended. Fluffy needs a caged area in the grass that restricts his ability to hunt and kill.
"Predation by domestic cats is the number-one direct, human-caused threat to birds in the United States and Canada. In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year. Although this number may seem unbelievable, it represents the combined impact of tens of millions of outdoor cats." - American Bird Conservancy
Plant more native shrubs, flowers and trees. Buy older homes instead of the next shiny new one built on small plots in the suburbs. And MOST of all, vote for candidates who support a green agenda with actions that count.