To the editor:

The recent news about the decline of North American birds is disheartening. The bottom line is that in the last 50 years we have lost nearly 3 billion birds!

If you are not much of a bird watcher you might be inclined to say “yah, so what’s the big deal if we lose some birds?”

Bird watching is one of those joys we can experience for very little money yet for great return on our attitudes and emotions. They are just fun to watch. We feel better after watching them. And, it does no harm to the environment! Just go out and watch. If you have the right yard, you can just look out your window. But we are losing these free-bees … fast!

On a more clinical side, birds are an important component in ecological webs. They eat enormous numbers of bugs and weed seeds. They are also a window to the environment.

In the old days, when the canary stopped singing, it was time to get out of the mine. Now, when the birds stop singing, we can’t leave the mine! This planet is all we get!

You can help by planting native plants, shrubs, and trees. Put UV-reflective stickers on your windows to reduce bird strikes. Keep cats indoors. If you can’t help that way but want to help some way, consider supporting a local environmental group with your membership and/or financial help. The

Izaak Walton League always needs help and/or money. Many state and national organizations are in need of support. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, authors of this bird study, will put your support to very good use. There are many other worthy environmental groups as well.

And remember, lawmakers brought this problem about. Insist that they are a part of the solution!

Nels F. Thompson

Owatonna

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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