Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Winged Warning? Is the decline of birds a canary in the coal mine that people should take heed of?

Another story -- this time an op-ed piece -- about the decline of birds in America.

There are some wild places that I visit where I am completely blown away by the sheer magnitude of morning and evening bird singing -- it is symphonically mesmerizing. Still, old timers in those areas often talk of this natural orchestra being nothing compared to what it was just a couple of decades ago. Even in these most wild areas of America.

A few weeks ago, I discussed why we should pay attention to such declines in the abundance of our fellow inhabitants of this planet: the potential for humans to learn a lot about dangers to ourselves from species becoming endangered.

In the case of Rachel Carson and Silent Spring, it turned out that the causes of a silence during springtime were pesticides that were also silencing people -- substances that proved to be cancerous, reproductively damaging, and more.

What does today's bird decline tell us about something that's happening to the environment, which is also affecting us?

I'll hedge a bet we'll know sooner than later.

The good news then, would be that solving the problem of our declining bird populations will also be good for people in more ways than just preserving our enjoyment of their singing.

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