Don’t you remember learning about your state flower, your state tree, and your state bird? I love the idea that each state claims citizens from the natural world—it is such a nice way to get schoolchildren engaged with the creatures living near them. There is something sweet and simple and quirky about declaring that the Baltimore oriole stands for Maryland, or the common loon for Minnesota, or the brown pelican for Louisiana.
We have bad news for our fellow creatures. Climate change – due to carbon and methane pollution — is the Number 1 threat to North American birds, according to a fascinating, and alarming, report from the National Audubon Society. We are fouling their nests.
Birds have certain tolerances for heat and cold, rain and drought: when conditions change, birds move elsewhere. What this means is that in 70 years—during the lifetimes of our children—Maryland won’t have Baltimore orioles, Louisiana won’t have its beguiling brown pelicans, Minnesota won’t have loons, New Hampshire won’t have purple finches, Pennsylvania won’t have those handsome ruffed grouses, and Vermont will no longer hear the lilting melodies of the hermit thrush, and Idaho will not be treated to the turquoise flash of the mountain bluebird.
We tend to think that we will all adjust to a warmer world; we’ll turn up the A/C or we will migrate to cooler homes. But it isn’t so simple, of course. Eventually, every place is compromised by global warming, and many creatures will run out of places to go. We all will.
We saved the bald eagle from extinction once before, when the DDT that was destroying eggshells was banned. The bald eagle is once again in trouble.
Every morning, I watch the hummingbirds canoodle the trumpet vine, and I am in awe of such tiny miracles. Each of us needs to do our part to preserve the world with which we are blessed. I’m in this to protect my children—but all creatures deserve our compassion and our care.
Go ahead: ruffle some feathers. It will save lives and PLEASE WATCH THIS: