Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The State of the World's Birds report
In case you haven't seen this, birdy pals, it's a report titled "The State of the World's Birds" done by an organization called BirdLife.
I'd never heard of this organization, but the report is fascinating (if depressing). It claims to be "a brief summary of the information available on BirdLife’s State of the world’s birds website. Using the most up-to-date analyses, it outlines why birds and biodiversity are important, what we know about the changing state of the world’s birds (STATE), why birds are declining (PRESSURE) and what can be done to improve their status (RESPONSE). It presents and lists a small sample of the case studies providing evidence for these messages and examples of BirdLife’s work. For more detailed information on these and other case studies, visit BirdLife’s State of the world’s birds website and database at www.birdlife.org/sowb"
The weird thing is this: I got to the last page, where the heading read, "BirdLife comprises more than 100 conservation organisations working together to promote sustainable living as a means to conserve biodiversity." Then there was a collection of little logos from all these countries--but no USA. I don't get it. Is this organization for real? Is it just not needed here in the USA? (as if!) Does anyone know more about BirdLife? I'm just curious. I mean, I'm not exactly up on the latest info on birds and stuff; I'm just a backyard birdwatcher who tries to go birding elsewhere whenever I can. Still--anyone ever heard of them?
Anyway--the report contains so much information, some of it simply mind-blowing. Did you know that, according to Birdview, "Human uses have been recorded for one purpose or another for 45% of the world’s nearly 10,000 bird species. Over a third of species are kept as pets and around one in seven is hunted for food. It is difficult to know how many individual birds are used, although it is estimated that between half a billion and one billion songbirds are hunted each year in Europe alone, for sport and food." HOLY CRAP. I knew that parrots and other exotic birds are huge dollars for the pet industry (hey, I watched Romancing the Stone; I know all about those parrot poachers down in South America!), but songbirds hunted "for sport and food" in Europe? Are they eating finches over there or what? Shooting warblers? What is going on over there!?
Go check it out. Let me know what you think.