Silence of the Songbirds

Silence of the Songbirds

Book - 2007
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Baker & Taylor
Links the disappearance of migratory songbirds to the environmental problems that threaten them and examines the long-term repercussions of the loss of songbird species and what can be done to preserve the birds and the ecosystem.

McMillan Palgrave

Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, the Eastern kingbird—migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. By some estimates, we may already have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago. Renowned biologist Bridget Stutchbury convincingly argues that songbirds truly are the "canaries in the coal mine"—except the coal mine looks a lot like Earth and we are the hapless excavators.

Following the birds on their six-thousand-mile migratory journey, Stutchbury leads us on an ecological field trip to explore firsthand the major threats to songbirds: pesticides, still a major concern decades after Rachel Carson first raised the alarm; the destruction of vital habitat, from the boreal forests of Canada to the diminishing continuous forests of the United States to the grasslands of Argentina; coffee plantations, which push birds out of their forest refuges so we can have our morning fix; the bright lights and structures in our cities, which prove a minefield for migrating birds; and global warming. We could well wake up in the near future and hear no songbirds singing. But we won't just be missing their cheery calls, we'll be missing a vital part of our ecosystem. Without songbirds, our forests would face uncontrolled insect infestations, and our trees, flowers, and gardens would lose a crucial element in their reproductive cycle. As Stutchbury shows, saving songbirds means protecting our ecosystem and ultimately ourselves.

Some of the threats to songbirds:
• The U.S. annually uses 4–5 million pounds of active ingredient acephate, an insecticide that, even in small quantities, throws off the navigation systems of White-throated sparrows and other songbirds, making them unable to tell north from south.
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservatively estimated that 4–5 million birds are killed by crashing into communication towers each year.
• A Michigan study found that 600 domestic cats killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season.
Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, the Eastern kingbird—migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. By some estimates, we may already have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago. Renowned biologist Bridget Stutchbury convincingly argues that songbirds truly are the "canaries in the coal mine"—except the coal mine looks a lot like Earth and we are the hapless excavators.

Following the birds on their six-thousand-mile migratory journey, Stutchbury leads us on an ecological field trip to explore firsthand the major threats to songbirds: pesticides, still a major concern decades after Rachel Carson first raised the alarm; the destruction of vital habitat, from the boreal forests of Canada to the diminishing continuous forests of the United States to the grasslands of Argentina; coffee plantations, which push birds out of their forest refuges so we can have our morning fix; the bright lights and structures in our cities, which prove a minefield for migrating birds; and global warming. We could well wake up in the near future and hear no songbirds singing. But we won't just be missing their cheery calls, we'll be missing a vital part of our ecosystem. Without songbirds, our forests would face uncontrolled insect infestations, and our trees, flowers, and gardens would lose a crucial element in their reproductive cycle. As Stutchbury shows, saving songbirds means protecting our ecosystem and ultimately ourselves.

Some of the threats to songbirds:
• The U.S. annually uses 4–5 million pounds of active ingredient acephate, an insecticide that, even in small quantities, throws off the navigation systems of White-throated sparrows and other songbirds, making them unable to tell north from south.
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservatively estimated that 4–5 million birds are killed by crashing into communication towers each year.
• A Michigan study found that 600 domestic cats killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season.



Baker
& Taylor

A noted biologist links the frightening disappearance of migratory songbirds to the environmental problems threatening the birds, including pesticides, the destruction of vital habitats, light pollution, and global warming, and examines the long-term repercussions of the loss of songbird species and what can be done to preserve the birds and the ecosystem.

Publisher: New York : Walker & Company, [2007]
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2007
ISBN: 9780802716095
0802716091
Branch Call Number: 598.8 STUTC
Characteristics: 256 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Notes: Includes index

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WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

According to Stutchbury, a leading authority on songbird migration, we may have already lost half the songbirds that filled our skies forty years ago. This is a sobering look at the disastrous effects of pesticides, habitat destruction, and climate change in the Americas. Stutchbury, who makes her home in suburban Toronto, makes a plea for conservation that includes ways we as individuals can help migratory songbirds.

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