Wednesday, August 15, 2007

birders' response to climate change: a challenge for 2008


You may have noticed information about my challenge to birders to do a WSO Earth-friendly Birdathon earlier this year. Well, it was pretty much a non-starter - only 2 people participated in the entire state, plus a few folks made donations for Cerulean Warbler conservation. Although I'm grateful to those who participated or donated, it wasn't exactly what I'd call a robust response! Perhaps what I asked for was too complicated. I'm not sure.

Let's move on. I'm asking for your help in re-doing this in 2008, in a different way. I'm asking for your input regarding a more broad, year-long response to climate change and its effects on birds. This is what I'm proposing: that we all co-sign a challenge to ourselves and others to "do birding differently" in 2008. I'm not asking people to "give up" birding - but I do think we need to reconsider doing things the way we have always done them. Here are some ideas - I am asking each of you for comments (shoot straight - you won't hurt my feelings), additional ideas, and then, toward the end of the year, your name, along with the signatures/names of any others of us who agree to this challenge, at the bottom of a letter, e-mail to various lists, and a notice in the Badger Birder and elsewhere. Yes, there ARE sacrifices involved.

Here is a skeleton to build on:
1) Think about your birding destinations, goals, and plans for the year; how could you accomplish them using less fuel?
2) Make a commitment to car-pool as much as possible on birding trips
3) Participate in bird-monitoring projects such as bird censuses (BBS, CBC) in lieu of some other trips.
4) Car-pooling to meetings (not all having to do with birds!)
5) Fun (really, this does not have to be distasteful! ) challenges such a big year in the smallest possible area, using the least possible fuel, and/or big days doing likewise
6) Other ideas - you name it!

Please think this over. If you don't agree, and don't wish to participate, I will surely understand. But I can promise you one thing: I'll keep working toward
finding ways to move this ( or something like it ) forward. I'm eager to hear or read your thoughts and responses. Feel free to share this challenge with others. I am sending it to a lot of people, but will miss some along the way. Thanks for any help you can provide.


William P. Mueller
Issues Committee Chair, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI)
Conservation Chair, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (WSO)
(414) 643-7279
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