According to a disheartening study published recently in the Journal Science, bird populations in North America have suffered a net loss of three billion birds since 1970.
That is a simply staggering number.
To add to the bad news, radar networks reveal steep declines in biomass (passage of migrating birds) over the last 10 years.
If these numbers aren’t turned around, and soon, we’re looking at possible extinction level problems. The loss of this many birds is sure to have a negative impact on all related ecosystems. And oh by the way, that means US!
Nearly three-quarters of all grassland species have experienced decline. Habitat loss and pesticide use have decimated bird populations. Throw in climate change and you have a trifecta.
This new normal has led to drops in insect populations, which may sound like good news to those of us who hate mosquito bites, but the bigger problem is that nature has a plan, and we’re mucking it up.
If you’re close to my age, you may remember a television commercial where the actress said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” It was a commercial for margarine, but it really can be applied to the world we’re living in right now.
The insects are an important food source for birds. No insects, no birds. No birds, no pollination, no pollination no crops, no crops no food, no food and – well you get the picture.
This kind of data should send an alarm to everyone who wants to live on this planet and see it thrive. It’s not too late to stop this sort of decline. We can control where we build human population centers so that the habitat loss to critical species is mitigated. We can come up with ways to kill pests that don’t also kill birds and even humans.
But we cannot do ANY of this if people decide not to pay attention. This is real, folks. And it’s NOT fake news. You cannot wish it away.
If you have children or grandchildren, think about what is going to happen to them when there are no more birds.
Scott Bourne is an Olympus Visionary, a professional bird/wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He is a pioneer in digital photography and was named one of the “30 most influential photographers on the Web” by Huffington Post. His photographic experience spans four decades and his bird/wildlife images have been published in more than 200 magazines and periodicals. He is also a Signed Master at Studio of Masters in China.
Scott has been a founder, co-founder, advisor or early stage investor in several technology companies such as NetRadio, Photofocus, and ViewBug.