Category Archives: Conservation
Your Actions are needed today!
Over the past several months, our new congress has been conspiring to dismantle many of this country’s greatest environmental and conservation legislation. Much of the Endangered Species Act in under attack and since January, over 30 bills and amendments have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate that would dismantle the Act, including eight extreme bills in the Senate that received a hearing last week.
S. 855, sponsored by Senator Rand Paul, which would remove at least half of all species from the ESA by eliminating protections for species that exist in only one state, which applies to birds like the Golden-cheeked Warbler, and would automatically delist all species after five years. Science-based decision making is at the heart of the ESA. Legislation such as S. 736 could require the use of potentially inferior science, while S. 112 would inject more burdensome and unnecessary economic analyses into the process.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are under attack in a House bill introduced by Congressman Duncan (R-SC). HR 493 would:
- Require 30-year eagle take permits to be automatically issued one year after a permit application is submitted under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Audubon strongly opposes the 30-year permit for Bald and Golden Eagles and this bill would worsen an already flawed approach.
- If HR 493 is enacted, bird “death traps” like unshielded power lines, waste oil pits and other modern hazards would no longer fall under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These bird death traps can otherwise be avoided with low-cost mitigation measures like nets covering waste pits and bird scaring devices on power lines. But HR 493 ignores common sense, low cost, win-win solutions like these and mandates that the law not help these birds at all.
- Audubon strongly opposes HR 493. At a time when bird populations are facing an increasing array of threats from industrial development, now is not the time to undermine our core bird conservation laws. These laws have been instrumental in protecting bird species and bringing our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, back from the brink of extinction.
Thank you for doing the right thing!
– Barbara Leo, Conservation Chair
The 2015 Pennsylvania Migration Count will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015.
The Pennsylvania Migration Count (PAMC) was established to gather annual data on migratory bird populations, and to help answer some fundamental questions regarding their distribution throughout Pennsylvania. PAMC is an annual one-day snapshot of bird populations within our state attempting to answer which species are present, where are they and how many there are? Detecting the changes in population will help give us an early warning of possible declines and it is hoped that steps can be taken toward assisting their future survival. In many ways, the PAMC is similar to the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), with the exception that it is county-based.
Results from the count are compiled across the state and published in Pennsylvania Birds, our state ornithological journal.
Can you join us in covering Wayne County?
It’s a great way to spend International Migratory Bird Day! Birders of all skill levels can help out with the count. Beginning at midnight with the songs of the Whip-poor-wills (if we’re lucky!) and the hooting of the Great Horned Owls, the PAMC is a great way to spend time outside. Whether you tally birds in your backyard, at your feeders, the local little league ballfield, along the river, on a lake, at your camp or spend time hiking through a state park, your observations count. While observations can be made over a 24-hour period, it’s up to you to decide how much time you will contribute.
Nearly half of the bird species in the continental U.S. and Canada are threatened by global warming. Many of these species could go extinct without decisive action to protect their habitats and reduce the severity of global warming. That’s the startling conclusion reached by Audubon scientists in a new study.
Here in Pennsylvania, birds threatened by global warming include Purple Finch, Baltimore Oriole, Bald Eagle, and Wild Turkey.
Of 588 bird species examined in the study, 314 are at risk. Of those, 126 species are at risk of severe declines by 2050, and a further 188 species face the same fate by 2080, with numerous extinctions possible if global warming is allowed to erase the havens birds occupy today.
“The greatest threat our birds face today is global warming,” said Audubon Chief Scientist Gary Langham, who led the investigation. “That’s our unequivocal conclusion after seven years of painstakingly careful and thorough research. Global warming threatens the basic fabric of life on which birds – and the rest of us – depend, and we have to act quickly and decisively to avoid catastrophe for them and us.”
To understand the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions that support them, Langham and other Audubon ornithologists analyzed 30 years of historical North American climate data and tens of thousands of historical bird records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Understanding those links then allowed scientists to project where birds are likely to be able to survive – and not survive – in the future.
The study also reveals areas that are likely to remain stable for birds even as climate changes, enabling Audubon to identify “stronghold” areas that birds will need to survive in the future.
The result is a roadmap for bird conservation in coming decades under a warming climate. The study provides a key entry point for Audubon’s greater engagement on the urgent issue of global warming. Responding to the magnitude of the threat to our birds, Audubon is greatly expanding its climate initiative, aiming to engage a larger and more diverse set of voices in support of protecting birds.
Solutions will include personal choices to conserve energy and create backyard bird habitat, local action to create community climate action plans, state-based work to increase rooftop solar and energy efficiency, and our work in Important Bird Areas and other efforts to protect and expand bird habitats.
The results of Audubon’s Climate Report are currently available online at climate.audubon.org. There, you can find the science and effects on birds — down to the species — in arresting detail. For even more information — and potential solutions — check out the current issue of Audubon Magazine, fully available online alongside Audubon’s Climate Report.