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The future of birding and the birds … is up to us

The relationship between birds and humans is one of a rather interesting nature. A parrot who devotedly rides on his masterís shoulder in a New York City apartment could possibly be shot over a farmerís field in India for eating grain out of the field. Crows, who are praised by scientists as being extremely intelligent and capable of talking and becoming great pets, are despised by most people. Thousands (of crows) are literally blown to pieces by American farmers wielding sticks of dynamite.While it is true that birds cause a large amount of agricultural damage in some places, they are certainly not the only culprits. Factory farming has changed agriculture in America. A simple search through the library will disclose horrifying facts about the way chickens are raised for the grocery store shelf.Manís footprint on earth has greatly influenced bird populations.Huge numbers of birds are killed or injured by human influences, including cats, radio towers, windows and electrocution from power lines.With our blind, headlong pursuit of progress, we are destroying the habitat of birds and other animals. Clear-cut loggings in the worldís forests destroy land at a voracious rate. The incessant draining of marshes in the attempt to find good farming soil is posing a major threat to the existence of many water birds. The need to constantly search for new land is the result of modern monoculture farming practices. The land is treated without any respect or care, is used to grow our chemical-laden crops until the soil is too depleted to grow anything, then is discarded as being useless. Of course, it will take centuries for that land to revert back to native growth, and it is now filled with harmful pesticides and herbicides. This land is now virtually unusable by native wildlife and flora and poses a threat to their health.Obviously, we have caused a lot of problems for birds, but there are things we can do about it. We must support organic, sustainable farming practices, and purchase meats that are not raised in confinement factories. Hunters must be sure that they are sportsman-like and at all times track down wounded animals.If the birds we treasure so much today are to be preserved for the next generation, some changes must be made. And those changes do not start with the government, because the government wonít start it. And we canít leave it to the conservancy organizations, because they can only do so much. We must be the ones to take action and search for ways to exist with wildlife, not in spite of it. And it is only by the public taking control and making the right choices that our natural heritage can be preserved for future generations. Because, not only are we endangering the health and well being of wildlife by supporting modern agriculture and foresting, we are endangering our own health.Our national bird, the Bald Eagle, was at one time a very common bird. However, due to DDT poisoning, their populations were decimated. Who knows, but someday the birds we take for granted now will have to be rescued like the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon and the large whales and the wolves. Letís take charge and make sure that these things donít happen.

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