Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What makes a real conservationist?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
You know you're a REAL conservationist when you:

1) support habitat acquisition. Buying a Duck Stamp; being a member of The Nature Conservancy; paying admission fees into parks, refuges, and other areas managed for wildlife; becoming a member of "friends" organizations supporting your favorite refuges and parks--all these count. The more you contribute, the more land conservation you're supporting.

2) never ever use lead shot, bullets, or fishing tackle anywhere in the outdoors where any wildlife lives. That includes outdoor target and skeet shooting.

3) do your level best to retrieve every inch of monofilament fishing line, and cut it up into tiny lengths before properly disposing of it.

4) drive at the slowest speed that is safe, courteous, and convenient. Collisions with cars kill a lot of birds. And oil exploration, drilling, transporting, and refining exact a heavy toll on the environment that wildlife shares with us.

5) conserve electricity. Mining for coal, gas extraction, hydroelectric dams, and wind turbines each kill a lot of birds directly and/or indirectly. The more energy we conserve, the less we need to produce.

6) if you're a landowner, delay mowing pastures and fields until August, or mid-July at the earliest, if humanly possible.

7) you support Cats Indoors.

8) let candidates for office know that conservation is a very important political issue to you.

9) let your religious leaders know that protection of wildlife and the environment is a moral and ethical imperative.

(I'll add to this as time permits. A lot of information about these and other issues is in 101 Ways to Help Birds.)