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WildBird Editor's Note: Lifestyle Choices

By Amy K. Hooper

Amy K. Hooper
Amy K. Hooper, WildBird Editor 

A quote from ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek recently crossed my path: “Running is about more than just the run.” The same applies to this pursuit, doesn’t it? Birding is about more than just the birds.

Yes, birds definitely remain the focal point and impetus for our activities. Birding, however, can expand into a guiding principle and become a lifestyle if we want.

Going about our day-to-day routines, we can make choices that reflect our enjoyment of birds and our concern for their needs. It’s not difficult to find options; numerous books — such as Jeffrey Wells’ “Birder’s Conservation Handbook,” excerpted in the November/December 2007 issue — and various websites describe small actions that can lead to a cumulatively beneficial result.

For instance, I switched most of the light bulbs in my apartment to compact fluorescent bulbs in 2001. Spurred by the rolling blackouts in California, I opted to invest in CFLs and theoretically reduce the demand for energy. (As a bonus, my electricity bill plummeted, too.)
A smaller demand on power plants decreases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Fewer emissions means a cleaner environment, which helps the birds. 

I also lend the birds a hand by purchasing a Duck Stamp. Its proper name is Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.

The program requires that hunters purchase a stamp, but its reach extends beyond hunters. That important word “conservation” indicates that funds raised by sales — 98 cents from every dollar — go toward the conservation of grasslands and wetlands that support migratory birds.
So far, stamp sales have generated more than $670 million, used to purchase or lease more than 5 million acres. I feel glad that my annual $15 purchase contributes to that effort.

Long-time Conservation Corner author Peter Stangel encourages all of us to consider “the bird conservation lifestyle.” In this issue, he suggests 10 ways to help birds and enacting one tip each time you read WildBird.

Tell us how you live the bird conservation lifestyle: wildbird@bowtieinc.com


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