Monday, May 7, 2007

What's killing the songbirds?

A York University professor’s new book is raising the alarm about an environmental crisis that threatens our forests and the battle against global warming.
In Silence of the Songbirds, biologist Bridget Stutchbury (left) argues that songbirds are disappearing from our skies – an environmental danger sign equivalent to canaries in a coal mine.
"We’ve lost nearly half the birds that filled our skies just 40 years ago," says Stutchbury, who is York's Canada Research Chair in Ecology and Conservation. "This is not just an endangered species problem. What we’re facing is a severe loss of ecosystem that comes with removing millions of birds from our forests each year."
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of American environmentalist and author Rachel Carson, whose 1962 book Silent Spring first warned of the dangers of the pesticide, its detrimental impact on the world’s bird population and its threat to human health. Stutchbury has devoted decades to the study of migratory songbirds and how their habitats are linked with our ecological well-being. Her book details the 10,000-kilometre migratory journey of songbirds from Canada to South America and highlights the environmental threats faced by songbirds. She illustrates that little has changed since 1962.

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