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Does Covid-19 affect the birds?

I won’t go on too much here about COVID-19 and its impacts on society because we hear about it every day and everywhere. One of the countless unfortunate outcomes is, many people have stopped donating to worthwhile causes or have reduced the amount they donate. Organizations that work to run great causes still need help, so please consider donating to the project described below.

Almost every year, for the past 35 or so years, I’ve done a Birdathon in support of projects designed to help or in some cases, save Canadian birds. Every year, I am hopeful the state and the fate of the birds will improve. I am a very optimistic person, but I wonder how long the birds can continue to withstand the pressures of climate change, urban sprawl, hunting, impacts with buildings & windows, cats, cars, wires, pesticides and habitat loss before they disappear from our landscape forever.

Aerial insectivores (swallows and flycatchers) are in dire straits as insects disappear from the landscape around the entire world. Shorebirds find little food when they get to their migration stop-overs, partly because of habitat loss but also because we are now harvesting their small prey for our own consumption.

Swainson’s Hawks are being poisoned in South America, by the tens of thousands, due to the indiscriminate use of agricultural pesticides. And now Covid is causing many funding opportunities to dry up with devastating impacts on birds, and on it goes. But who can help? We can! A few caring people can help make one project designed to help our birds a reality. By doing so, we can offset some of the anthropomorphic impacts our lifestyle generates. A few hundred of you can ensure many projects go forward with tens of thousands of birds protected!

Not sure what a Birdathon is or why you should help? There are so many good nature and environment-focused causes out there, and I am proud to be part of several of them. One near and dear to my heart is the Great Canadian Birdathon. Like any other ‘thon,’ it is designed to raise awareness and much-needed funds for projects aimed at studying and protecting Canadian birds. Bird Canada sponsors this Birdathon annually, to fund volunteer research projects in Ontario and other parts of Canada. More than 7,000 people from across Canada, and around the world, participate in and/or sponsor the Great Canadian Birdathon in May each year. Thanks to the efforts of these volunteers, hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised every year from this ambitious project.

Bird research and conservation projects across Canada benefit directly from these donations. The monies are distributed to individuals and groups working on projects to protect, enhance and study bird populations. Some of the recent projects funded by the Birdathon include ones which focus on: Piping Plovers, Purple Martins, bird banding stations, Loggerhead Shrikes, Barn Swallows, bluebirds, seabirds, breeding bird atlases, migratory songbirds, hawks and Barn Owls. Most of these worthwhile projects would not survive without your generous donations.

I will be doing my Birdathon in late May in support of North Durham Nature and Birds Canada. I’ll be out for twenty-four consecutive hours looking for bird species in Durham and Kirkfield and environs. Annually, I find in excess of 155 species of birds and hope to top my best year (180 species) this year!

Now more than ever, birds need our help. Please consider sponsoring me in this year’s Great Canadian Birdathon; you can help me make a difference. To make an online donation, go to my personal Birdathon link, https://www.canadahelps.org/me/6JznRV8, or contact me by email, at avocetnatureservices@gmail.com.

By the way, 25 percent of the money I raise goes to our local nature club (North Durham Nature), to help fund their own nature-focussed local projects. I look forward to hearing from you and having you help me help our birds!! Gotta go get some rest, so I can do my 24-hour Birdathon!

Geoff Carpentier is a published author, expedition guide and environmental consultant. Visit Geoff on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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