To the Editor:

According to research published Sept. 19 by the journal Science, the total breeding bird population in the continental United States and Canada has dropped by 29 percent since 1970. We are down around 3 billion birds. It is a devastating report and, unfortunately, not surprising to those of us who pay attention to birds. We can despair over it, or we can take action to protect the remaining 70 percent.

Here are seven things you can do right now in support of birds, as suggested by the website 3billionbirds.org:

1) Make windows safer by installing screens or applying reflective break-up patterns; keep lights out at night especially during spring and fall migration.

2) Keep cats indoors. They are THE primary cause of the majority of bird deaths – an estimated 2.6 billion a year.

3) Replace grass lawns with native plants.

4) Don’t use pesticides. 

5) Buy shade-grown coffee.

6) Avoid plastic.

7) Watch birds and share what you see through citizen science projects like eBird. 

The website goes into greater detail, and also points toward additional political and advocacy actions to promote bird conservation.

You can also get involved with local birding groups like Athens Area Birders, which holds informal weekly meet-ups at Little Fish Brewing Company, Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m., and hosts monthly walks and talks in various locations. The Fall Big Day Bird Walk will be at the Ora Anderson Trail behind the Dairy Barn, at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 (meet at trail head). All AAB events are free and open to all! For more information, like Athens Area Birders Events on Facebook or email stefan_gleissberg@me.com.

Together we can #bringbirdsback!

Melissa Wales

Julie Gee

Stefan Gleissberg

Dave Waters

Phil Cantino

Bob Scott Placier

Members of Athens Area Birders

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