By Montana Grant

Posted: September 28, 2019

Recently, the news reported that ¼ of the world’s birds have disappeared in the last 50 years. The study was done by non-scientists. Basically, birdwatchers did the study and are bringing attention to our feathered friends, mainly in North America, but spread the alarm worldwide.

As a Biologist, I am always skeptical about studies that have no scientific basis. The timing of this report appears to be more political and not a conclusion based upon real data. Ironically, the study also showed an increase in waterfowl populations. The main reason is the” improved habitat protections and wildlife sanctuaries.”

Consider these facts.

Hunters promote habitat protections which benefit all critters and plants. Hunting happens only around 3 months a year and is managed and limited inn their harvests. All birds, wildlife, and plants benefit. How can waterfowl, which get hunted, be on the rise and all the other birds be on the decline? Many raptor populations like eagles, hawks, owls, and others are also on the increase. They must be eating pretty good.

Wind power turbines in wind farms, cause huge mortality for all birds. This Green Energy comes at a cost. What is a reasonable mortality cost for this resource? Perhaps a redesign of this technology is needed to reduce bird deaths.

Toxic waste pits, sewage, and storage areas are also death traps for birds. Better treatment facilities and processes are needed. Protective netting could keep them out of these areas.

Bird feeding, year around, can be devastating to local bird populations. Well meaning folks feed the birds in their yards. If they go on vacation, stop feeding, or forget to fill the feeders, especially in harsh conditions, birds conditioned to feed at these specific feeders die. Wet, or sour, food also causes gastric issues which kill birds.

Now that we train the birds to live in communities, this becomes where they nest. Community pests like cats and dogs easily kill the baby birds as they hop around the back yard. Insects like wasps and hornets also kill birds in their special bird houses, around the yards. Cats are incredible bird hunters and their population have increased dramatically in the last 50 years.

These are some real issues that relate to bird mortality and solutions to prevent them. I wonder what the bird population would be if we addressed these concerns.

The study said that the greatest reduction of birds is in the grasslands and open spaces. Could this also be a result of fewer “birdwatchers” to do this unscientific study? Is this an area with the least information?

The Study pointed to all the usual culprits of critter depredation. Chemicals, pollution, global warming, climate change, and lack of habitat. No solutions were offered.

Please give us all some “tangible solutions” that we can apply, so we can help. Educate us about better bird feeding, sonic sensors that will keep birds away from our cars, toxics, or windmills, build better bird houses and teach us where to put them. We all want to help!

I love birds, and if the facts point to a decline in so many populations, then sign me up to help. We need to take a closer look at the available wildlife management data from our state and federal agencies. These reputable, Scientific, agencies surely would have been announcing bird problems, if they observed them.

Hunters, fishermen, and outdoorsmen are our first line defense to protect and enhance our healthy environments. It is because of these groups that we have a wonderful environment for all to enjoy. Without these special wild critters and places, Earth is truly doomed. If we identify the problems, we can target the solutions.

Let’s just get the facts and data right before we start yelling that “the Sky is falling!”

Montana Grant

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