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Roger Tory Peterson Institute is an essential conservation resource

For the birds—it’s never been more important

The handsome building is surrounded by bird habitat, including trees and natives.


A shocking number of birds have disappeared from North America: nearly three billion since 1970, according to a recent study in Science. The study used yearly counts carried out by volunteers, other regular surveys, aerial footage, and weather radar data. The scientists didn’t really expect to find a great difference, but they were jolted by results that showed many of the common birds we expect to see in our backyards—sparrows, warblers, finches, and blackbirds—have suffered losses of as much as fifty million each. The major reason has been identified as habitat loss, the result of an ecosystem in total disruption.


What can we do? Simple steps that people can take include making sure windows are safely marked, keeping pet cats indoors, planting less lawn and more bird habitat (trees, shrubs, perennials), and avoiding pesticides. Become more mindful of birds by watching and learning about them. A good start would be a visit to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown (rtpi.org), which runs a host of educational programs as well as maintains its beautiful facility. Go there to appreciate birds and find out how to help them.


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