I love to watch and photograph birds – the more I watch and photograph the more fascinated I become. Last summer a family of five kestrels (2 adults and three babies) spent a few weeks in my backyard. I watched the adults teach the youngsters how to fly and forage for food. They grew accustomed to me with my camera as the days went by. ( see Kestrels Came to visit here)
Not all the photos were beautiful photographs but still the ones I did not publish taught me more about them. I watched the fledglings climb up the shed walls to reach the rooftop to eat the insects (mostly spiders) that they found. Watching the youngsters play and practice quick turns and dives, was fascinating!
One day I heard the parents chattering in the cottonwood tree. They were hard to see even with my long lens since the tree was leafed out wand, leaves and branches were in the way. I had no idea what they were doing until I was previewing images on my computer. They were mating and were interrupted by another kestrel that they shooed away!
After reading this article by Audubon (link to full article below) I was upset and depressed at the same time. Why is this happening? Why has our government turned a blind eye to the devastation by the oil industry? They are partially to blame but we, as consumers of petroleum products, are also at fault. Please tread lightly on mother earth, share rides, ride a bike to the store, stop buying throw away plastic products, and recycle everything are just a few of the things we can do.
It’s also very important to tell our elected officials how we feel. The two best actions we can take is write a handwritten letter and call their offices. These days handwritten letters stand out amongst the typed letters and emails and add a personal touch while emails and typed letters could be produced in mass and may be difficult to ascertain if they are sent by the signers or not, while handwriting is unique to all of us.
You can find contact information for federal, state, local, or tribal governments and elected officials at:
Government Agencies and Elected Officials. You can contact federal government agencies here (ie., Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Council of Environmental Quality, Environmental Management (Energy Department), Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.)
If you want to contact a Member of Congress Who Does Not Represent You, you can:
- Send a message to the Representative or Senator that represents you, and ask his or her office to forward it for you.
- Go to the website for the member of Congress you wish to contact to find a postal address and mail a letter.
- Call the United States Capitol switchboard at 1-202-224-3121. The switchboard operator will connect you with the office you request.
This is an excerpt of the article A Storm Gathers for North American Birds by Audubon:
“Western North Dakota is famous for its birds. The land here is checkered with neat squares of farm fields and native prairie overlying a scatter of pothole lakes, their curving shorelines shaped tens of thousands of years ago by chunks of melting glaciers. This rich landscape provides critical breeding grounds for millions of birds, from the that pour out of the so-called “duck factory” to the Bobolinks of the tallgrass prairie.
But the region is changing fast. Even as birds continue to flock here every summer, expanding agriculture has eaten away at their habitat, and since 2008 the area has witnessed an energy boom of global proportions. Today the fields, prairies, and badlands are punctuated with hundreds of rectangles of raw, orange dirt, each studded with its own set of trailers, storage tanks, and nodding pumpjacks. Every day, companies use hydraulic fracturing to extract nearly a million barrels of oil from the Bakken formation, a layer of shale that lies about two miles beneath the prairie. Roughly 8,000 wells are operating already, and an additional 40,000 could be drilled and fracked in the next 20 to 30 years. In line at one brand-new convenience store, a woman carrying a hardhat sums up the prevailing attitude: “Patience are for doctors.” In the Bakken, the time is now, and the future is a long way off.
Yet the Audubon Report, a groundbreaking new study by Audubon scientists, suggests that this place will become even more important for birds as the planet warms. For the 26 grassland bird species whose breeding ranges are projected to decrease dramatically by 2050, North Dakota will become an increasingly rare island of viable habitat and suitable climate conditions, one of their few remaining refuges. Protecting a portion of the region for birds could mean the difference between survival and extinction for some species.
That’s just one of the critical findings from Audubon’s seven-year investigation into the expected effects of climate change on North American bird populations. And taken together, the news is grim indeed. By 2080, the climate model projects, dozens of avian species across the country could be hurtling toward extinction—and not just birds that are already in trouble. Both the American Avocet and the Yellow-headed Blackbird, familiar sights in western North America, may be under threat before the end of the century. In the Great Plains, the Chestnut-collared Longspurs range could shrink by 70 percent, while suitable breeding grounds for the Baird’s Sparrow could disappear entirely. The Piping Plover, an icon of the Atlantic Flyway, may vanish from many eastern shores.”
Read the entire article here: A Storm Gathers for North American Birds | The Audubon Birds & Climate Change Report.
- American Kestrel in flight (torreypinesreflections.wordpress.com)