bearriver Blog : beach

Birds know a very different budget

Thursday, February 28, 2013

On this very final day of February - hours before possible government sequestration and large amounts of government funding cutbacks and personnel furloughs . . . I turn my thoughts to a very different "budget" . . . a bird's activity budget.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - especially the Refuges across the nation - are here to protect and serve the natural resource. That is BIRDS, specifically , here at the Bear River Migratory BIRD Refuge.  What's that, you say?  Basically, an activity budget shows how much time an animal spends in various activities such as eating, resting, sleeping, and moving.   So - while we're all worried about the economy, gas prices and sequestrations . . . the birds are worried about where the next meal is coming from and if the water is open or frozen, etc.

It just makes you think. When trying to decide whether or not to move from one spot to another for food or warmth - are the main concerns on your budget - how nice it might be to be a bird.  But then, if you've ever watched one closely and tried to record their activity budget, you will immediately realize it IS NOT.  To change a bird's activity budget, even by only a small amount (especially during tough years or during mating season), can make a HUGE difference  . . . possibly even between life and death. For example - as fun as it may be for your dog to run on the beach and chase sandipers and plover...this is deadly dangerous for those birds, many of which are terribly threatened and endagered species. That bird is working very had to try and feed and gain enough weight to make it through migration.  Chased and harried by people or dogs . . . it has just wasted time, energy and fat mass doing something it shouldn't need to. The difference between life and death.

So while we are all watching and wondering what will happen with our won budgets . . . let's not forget how much more dire it can be for our feathered friends and their activity budgets. 

Happy Birding

 - Jason

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