bearriver Blog: What a difference a year (and a few more birds) makes!

What a difference a year (and a few more birds) makes!

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 is Valentine's day and my love goes out to all our wildlife struggling throughout the world to live in habitat so changed by humans as to be totally unrecognizable as wildlife habitat. 

But, that said, let's try to keep our hopes up and remember the progress we HAVE made.  I am currently participating in an online book-club/blog called AMERICA's WILD READ and enjoying it tremendously  ( )  This month's book is BURNING RIVERS by Dr. John Hartig and concerns four urban rivers that have actually burned due to pollution.  These rivers, due to public outcry in many forms, have all been reclaimed and restored and have many species of fish and bird and more returning to them and the Great Lakes basin. 

And this brings me to my subject of the day...the 21 Bald Eagles I saw on the Refuge this past week.  This group was only a small portion of over 150 eagles that have been in the area the past weeks of mild weather...lining up along opening ice edges to nab fish (or steal them from another eagle.)  It seems like just yesterday that I was thinking..."Boy, eagle day is just around the corner...where are all the eagles?"  Boy, did I not have to worry this year.  And thinking back to last year, we hardly had any around the Refuge at this time of the year, while Farmington Bay had tons.  Just reinforces that they are WILD birds and do and go where they want or need to.  But let's not forget - how lucky we are to see so many of these amazing birds.  It was less than 40 years ago that these birds were still in danger of NOT being seen in numbers like this, and only 5 years since removing them from "the List."  Every time I see and adult or young Bald eagle I try to remind myself of this and continue to hope we will do better each year with the many species that are still in need.  And withough getting into climate change or habitat loss too deep . . . I try to just keep it simple.  "What would my life - and the life of everyone I know or love or work with - be like without this bird, this tree, this chub, this bug, or this bud...gone from the planet forever.  Some species make it harder than stinkbugs?  ok.  No more poison ivy, sounds great.  But no.  Any loss of species affects the planet and its species in ways even our brightest scientists cannot always imagine or foresee.

So today - when you get a chance to view a Bald eagle...or even just a house finch in your back yard...imagine what it might be like without that bird.  Imagine if we somehow keep conservation stationary or ___ forbid, moving backward.  And then make that step to try to make a difference in any way you can.   [  And for today, here's a great way:  Be an endangered species' valentine.  ]


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