Scientific American – Silent Birds

The following quote from Scientific American…

Is drawn from their report on the decline of bird numbers in the USA… 

One bright spot the researchers found was that wetland birds have made recoveries, driven largely by increases among waterfowl such as ducks, geese and swans. “It’s because of the strong constituency of recreational waterfowl hunters who raised their voice, put money where their mouths are and saw to it that conservation programs and policies were put in place,” Rosenberg says. “Billions of dollars [were] invested into wetlands [and] into wildlife refuges. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act was enacted in the late 1980s. All of these things were responsible for the turnaround.” The study also found that raptors such as bald eagles have rebounded after legislation extended protections for these birds and banned the pesticide DDT—thanks in part to Silent Spring.

Sillett says that birders and bird enthusiasts could learn from hunters’ conservation efforts. “The rest of us who enjoy birds that are not game species, we’ve got to think of ways that we can contribute to their conservation,” such as taxing hiking or bird-watching equipment to support conservation programs, he says. “I think we all need to throw in a bit and think about how we can come up with a broader model of conserving our wildlife that’s patterned after the waterfowl program.”

The duck hunting debate is, in my opinion, distorted by junk science and single issue activists. We need rigorous and proper ecological research into conservation of our wetland birds not emotional feel-good policies.

Chris Shaw
+61 0 409 675912

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