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HELPING PEOPLE HELP BIRDS (fwd)



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 97 15:24:06 MST
From: RICH_GREENWOOD@mail.fws.gov


April 22, 1997                         Hugh Vickery  202-208-5634

               HELPING PEOPLE HELP BIRDS IS THEME
          OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY ON MAY 10

Much has improved in the 35 years since former U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service biologist Rachel Carson awakened America to the
problem of pesticides with her book Silent Spring.  The Nation's
air and water are cleaner.  Harmful chemicals such as DDT have
been banned and the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and other
species have rebounded as a result.

But unfortunately, many of the Nation's 800 migratory bird
species are still in peril because of loss of habitat and misuse
of common pesticides that can be found at any hardware store. 
Populations of some species are declining as fast as 2 percent to
4 percent per year.

"Join the Flock . . . Be Part of the Solution" is the theme of
the fifth annual International Migratory Bird Day to be observed
this year on Saturday, May 10.  IMBD is a celebration of spring
migration and the return of millions of birds to their nesting
areas.  IMBD features bird walks, family activities, bird banding
demonstrations, and other events throughout the United States and
the Western Hemisphere.  These events will be held at many
national wildlife refuges, city and state parks, national
forests, national parks, National Audubon sanctuaries and other
nature reserves.

"People will have an opportunity not only to enjoy watching and
photographing wild birds but also to learn what they can do to
conserve them," said Service Acting Director John Rogers. 

"Average citizens can play an important role in stopping the
decline of some bird populations," Rogers said.  "Something as
simple as learning the appropriate time and way to apply
pesticides to your lawn or garden can make a big difference. 
Many people are inadvertently poisoning birds by misusing these
chemicals or applying them when birds are especially vulnerable,
such as when they are nesting."

The deaths of 20,000 Swainson's hawks in Argentina last year
highlighted the problem of pesticides killing birds.  The
Service, working with the Argentine government, received a
commitment from a major chemical company, Ciba-Geigy, to limit
use of the pesticide responsible for the deaths and to expand
education and training efforts among Argentine farmers.

Pesticides are still a domestic concern.  Every year, 4 million
tons of pesticides are applied across the United States
everywhere from farm fields to homes and gardens.  In addition,
well over 100,000 tons of pesticides no longer permitted to be
used in the United States are shipped to developing countries
where migratory birds spend the winter.

Loss and fragmentation of habitat also is a major reason for the
decline of many bird species.  For example, the United States has
lost more than half its wetlands, nearly all its tallgrass
prairie and virgin forest, and 75 percent of its shortgrass
prairie.  Similar destruction and degradation of native habitat
is ongoing in many other countries along migration routes.

Last year on International Migratory Bird Day, the Service
unveiled a national strategy to better conserve bird habitat by
coordinating conservation efforts at the local, state, and
national levels.  The plan was developed by Partners in Flight, a
partnership of 16 Federal agencies, 60 state and provincial fish
and wildlife agencies, and more than 100 businesses and
conservation organizations. 

Under the strategy, dubbed the "Flight Plan," teams of biologists
are identifying and ranking bird species most in need of
conservation and then setting population and habitat objectives
for each species.  They are also designating geographic areas
critical to birds and developing a conservation blueprint for
each species.

By the end of 1998, the Service and its partners expect to
complete 50 regional conservation plans.  These plans will help
landowners who voluntarily conserve birds coordinate their
efforts with their neighbors. 

"Regardless of much or how little property they own, landowners
can become part of a larger voluntary effort to conserve birds,"
Rogers said.  "They can get together with a local bird or garden
club, or coordinate land management or landscaping activities
with neighbors and nearby parks or refuges.  By combining our
efforts, we can help ensure future generations will not have to
face a silent spring."

Migratory bird conservation also has significant benefits for the
economy, Rogers said.  The 65 million adults who watch birds
spend up to $9 billion a year on everything from bird seed to
birding trips, according to a 1995 study commissioned by the
Service.

One of the easiest and most effective things Americans can do for
birds is to purchase a Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp,
commonly known as the "Duck Stamp," available for $15 from post 
offices and national wildlife refuges around the country. 
Ninety-eight cents of every dollar raised by Duck Stamp sales is
used to buy wetland habitat, which benefits migratory waterfowl
and a host of other species of birds and wildlife. 

"Our birds are not only a priceless treasure enjoyed by old and
young alike but they are also significant to our economy,
supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs," Rogers said. 

                              -FWS-
 



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