Thursday, June 14, 2007
Survival of the fittest, or humans kill meadow birds?
Whenever I hear about an invasive species driving out weaker local species, such as the Argentine ant in California, or crows everywhere, I sometimes think, good for them. Crows are smart, beautiful birds that can thrive alongside people. If they out compete other birds, they deserve to live. I have a hard time appreciating the pure value of diversity.
The Audubon society and the US Geological survey reported early today that many once familiar meadow birds are fading from our sight. Our homes encroach on the meadow birds' homes. Farm land creeps into the birds' territory. Plans to increase reliance on biofuels will only exacerbate this problem. The numbers of more specialized birds are declining. Apparently even household cats are numerous enough to impact bird populations. The poor little guys can't survive in human settlements. Their numbers have declined by as much as 82% in the last 40 years, while turkeys, Canadian geese, and other hardy birds increase in number.
So this is not a war among birds, we are moving into the birds' roaming grounds too fast for them to adapt.
Audubon "Birds in Decline" report, with pictures.