Begin forwarded message:
From: “David Yarnold, National Audubon Society” <AudubonConnect@audubon.org>
Date: June 17, 2011 12:30:34 PM
Subject: American birds in decline — How you can help
Eastern Meadowlarks were once commonplace, but these yellow-bellied beauties are suffering steep declines in numbers as their grassland habitats become increasingly scarce.Raise your voice for birds — by donating to Audubon today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.
There’s nothing common about the Eastern Meadowlark. Its melodic four-note call is the epitome of Spring birdsong. With its showy brilliant yellow breast emblazoned with a black V, the Eastern Meadowlark has been a dependable and beloved resident of grasslands and meadows throughout the Eastern United States and Canada.
Until now. Once classified as “common” by field biologists, this lovely bird is suffering a precipitous decline in numbers. Four decades ago, there were an estimated 24 million Eastern Meadowlarks in the wild. Today that number has fallen to fewer than seven million.
Please raise your voice for birds like the Eastern Meadowlark by donating to Audubon’s Summer campaign. Between now and June 30, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar, so your gift will go twice as far.
The Meadowlark might be an indirect victim of American dependence on oil. As oil prices have skyrocketed, farmers have switched over their fields to grow vast mono-crops of corn for ethanol. And cornfields make poor Meadowlark habitat.
Thanks in part to data provided by birdwatchers and other citizen scientists, Audubon has identified more than 20 other “common” birds that are in trouble. In addition to the Eastern Meadowlark, these birds include:
- The Rufous Hummingbird, a West Coast native, whose numbers have declined 60 percent over the past four decades.
- The Northern Pintail, a slender and elegant duck, once abundant throughout North America. Changes in farming practices in the Pintails’ breeding habitats have contributed to a steep 71 percent decline since the mid-1960s.
- The Northern Bobwhite, a meadow-dwelling bird, whose signature two-tone whistle is the first song many young birders learn. Bobwhite populations have plummeted by more than 80 percent since the mid-1960s.
For more than a century, Audubon has been a champion for conserving birds and their natural habitats in America Our work has brought the Brown Pelican and our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, back from the brink of extinction. We are working intensively to restore the magnificent California Condor. And more recently, Audubon was on the front lines of responding to the massive Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, assisting in oiled bird rescue and recovery, helping to assess ecological impacts of the spill, and setting new directions for the long-term environmental health of the region.
Beyond the inspiration birds offer, we humans understand innately that their fate is linked with our own. Ultimately, by raising our voices for birds, we are raising our voices for all life on Earth.
President and CEO, National Audubon Society
P.S. If you are new to Audubon, welcome! As a new member, your gift of $20 or more will entitle you to full membership privileges including our award-winning photo-packed bi-monthly magazine.
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