Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Songbird Travel Plans

Preparing bird migration lessons and activities to be presented at the South Carolina Geographic Alliance's Geofest this coming Saturday has reminded us of the many threats facing birds. It is difficult enough to survive in the non-human animal world, but migration increases the stress and dangers for birds.

The main threat to birds (and most flora and fauna) is habitat loss. Without adequate habitat in the northern breeding areas, birds cannot find suitable nesting sites or enough food to feed their young or themselves in preparation for long migrations. Without adequate habitat along the migratory route, birds cannot rest, resupply, or avoid predators. Without adequate habitat in their southern wintering grounds, birds cannot survive to the next migration or have sufficient energy to complete the migration.

Although habitat loss is the main threat, there is plenty of competition for top billing! Along the way, birds risk collisions with airplanes, cars, radio/tv/cell towers, power lines, and windows. If they successfully navigate by these obstacles and land, they face the deadly efficient domestic cat, pesticides, herbicides, or other pollutants.

The Francis Beidler Forest in Four Holes Swamp remains a sanctuary providing outstanding breeding habitat and a welcoming and fulfilling stop for migrating birds.

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