What we all can do to help reverse this alarming trend.
Dec 1, 2008
I am always very grateful when an author presents his or her subject matter in concise and easy to understand language. I most certainly found this to be the case with "Silence of the Songbirds:How We Are Losing The World's Songbirds and What We Can Do ToSave Them". Author BridgetStutchbury, a professor of biology at York University in Toronto and a woman widely recognized as an international birding expert gives her readers plenty to ponder in her new book. If you are reading about this subject for the very first time then you could not have chosen a better book to get up to speed on these issues. And for those who have some familiarity with this topic "Silence of the Songbirds" provides lots of new and important information.
It seems that scientists have learned an awful lot about songbirds just in the past couple of decades. And what remarkable lives they lead! Innovative new technolgies have allowed scientists to tag and track birds in an effort to learn more about the breeding habits and migratory patterns of these magnificent creatures. "Silence of the Songbirds" explores the many obstacles and threats facing birds like the wood thrush, Eastern kingbirds and Kentucky warblers to name but a few. I simply had no idea of the scope of the problems that threaten the very existence of many of these species. And while the main problem continues to be a loss of habitat for these birds there are also a host of other threats that they must reckon with. Armed with well-researched facts and figures, Bridget Stansbury makes a compelling case that there will be serious long-term consequences not only to these birds but to our environment as well if we fail to deal with these problems in the near future.
Fortunately, Bridget Stutchbury offers a number of practical ways that each of one of us can help to make the world a more hospitable place for our fine feathered friends. But while the individual choices we make can be helpful it is really not enough. Write a letter to the editor and discuss these issues with family and friends. How we choose to utilize our land and other natural resources is a conversation that we really need to have in this country. In the meantime I strongly urge everyone to read "Silence of the Songbirds". This is an extremely well written book that deserves your time and attention. Highly recommended!
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Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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A distinguished scientist reveals how we are losing the world's songbirds, why this predicts widespread environmental problems, and what we all can do to save the birds and their habitats. Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, Eastern kingbird—migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. By some estimates, we may already have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago. Renowned biologist Bridget Stutchbury convincingly argues that songbirds truly are the "canaries in the coal mine"—except the coal mine looks a lot like Earth and we are the hapless excavators.
Following the birds on their six-thousand-mile migratory journey, Stutchbury leads us on an ecological field trip to explore firsthand the major threats to songbirds: pesticides, still a major concern decades after Rachel Carson first raised the alarm; the destruction of vital habitat, from the boreal forests of Canada to the diminishing continuous forests of the United States to the grasslands of Argentina; the bright lights and structures in our cities, which prove a minefield for migrating birds; and global warming. We could well wake up in the near future and hear no songbirds singing. But we won't just be missing their cheery calls, we'll be missing a vital part of our ecosystem. Without songbirds, we would face uncontrolled insect infestations, and our trees, flowers, and gardens would lose a crucial element in their reproductive cycle. As Stutchbury...