The Birds are Disappearing

Bird populations are decreasing at concerning rates

Bird populations have been dropping at distressing rates in North America during the past years due to harmful human practices. 

According to the New York Times, longitudinal studies going on from 1970 until recently have revealed that vast species of North American birds have been declining in population. Birds play multiple important roles in the environment that help nature prosper. 

According to Endangered Species International, birds help maintain normal amounts of their prey and predators, along with helping with plant reproduction through spreading seeds and pollination.

“Many of the reasons why we have seen significant bird declines within their populations across North America have to do with human development,” said Environmental Teacher Thomas Horsley.

Mr. Horsley also said that humans have an ever growing population that needs to eat, produce waste, needs housing to live in, and needs clean water to drink. This in turn, creates needs for agriculture, electricity production, and housing construction. All of these things are pushed by human development, and also negatively affect birds. 

Mr. Horsley said that agricultural companies like to expand into habitats that birds thrive in. These habitats are cheaper than clearing down a whole forrest to build a farm.

“But also, when agriculture increases, the products that agriculture uses increase. So that’s pesticides, fertilizer, antibiotics,” said Horsley. “More humans, we need more food, we use more pesticides, birds go downhill.”

Mr. Horsley is also concerned with the number of birds in decline. He said that we need to make sure we are listing species and seeing that populations are being continually evaluated. Also that if a species is declined, it needs to be listed as threatened.

Taking care of birds isn’t just a concern of the environmentalists and bird watchers. More of the common people who care need to make an effort in order to improve the crisis, but not everyone knows about the problem in the first place.

Emily Hoggard, a student at Triton High School and an owner of a bird , said she was unaware of the declining bird population or why it has been falling. 

Sergey Avery, another student at Triton High School said he vaguely knew about the falling population and their habitat loss but was not aware of any ways to help the situation.

David Moon, the sanctuary director at Joppa Flats Education Center (part of the Mass Audubon) said that joining organizations like the Mass Audubon Society helps people learn about birds and helps make changes in the law related to environmental improvement, and encourages them to do so. 

“The big ticket item that actually trumps everything we’ve said is climate change,” said Moon. He said that if we don’t address climate change, all of the other problems such as habitat loss and pesticides become secondary in focus.

“If you’re not buying electricity from a green provider, a non-fossil fuel provider, it’s not difficult to learn how to quickly change your provider,” said Moon. He also said that buying from a green provider could cost slightly more but not enough to change your budget drastically. 

David Moon also said to vote with an environmental conscious, encourage others to vote the same way, buy more electric cars, and to take advantage of programs such as Mass Save that help pay for insulating houses to make it more heat efficient.

Mr. Horsley said that if anyone told him they weren’t concerned about birds, he would take them bird watching, “Most people that don’t understand, haven’t been exposed to it. When you experience nature and wildlife and you become aware of what’s out there and just how valuable it is, and the valuable role that it plays, then you’re motivated to make a change.”