Tree Conservancy needs help to save songbirds

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Audubon Greenwich, in collaboration with the Greenwich Tree Conservancy and the Bruce Museum, recently presented their Urban Oases, Expanding Bird Habitat for Migrating Songbirds, a research program spearheaded by Michelle Frankel, Audubon Connecticut’s conservation biologist.

The importance of Frankel’s research, taking place right here in Greenwich and along the Atlantic Flyway, is profound and deserves recognition and support. For the past several years, Frankel and her team have rallied citizen scientists to methodically record the trees and shrubs from which migrating songbirds find sustenance by eating either the berries or the insects that live in the trees.

The National Audubon Society has stepped up conservation efforts as a result of research indicating that migrating songbird populations are plummeting precipitously. In some cases, species numbers are dropping 7% per year. Without help, these birds could disappear completely. A U.S. Forest Service report estimated that by 2050, more than 60% of Connecticut will be composed of urban/suburban neighborhoods (today, 60% is forested), which will further reduce stopover habitat for these tiny birds that migrate from as far south as South America to as far north as Canada.

How will we be affected if these songbirds no longer stop over in Connecticut, or worse, if they go extinct? First, imagine a silent spring with no birds to herald in the warming weather. Second, their demise would have a cascading effect on the environment. The food chain and web of pollination would forever be disturbed. Populations of the insects that these birds eat would increase exponentially, seeds would no longer be dispersed, and hawk populations would decrease, while rodent populations increased and some plants would no longer be pollinated and would ultimately disappear.

The Greenwich Tree Conservancy is planting more than 75% percent of the tree and shrub species critical for songbird survival in and around Greenwich. We strongly encourage everyone in Greenwich to go to Audubon Connecticut’s website and become familiar with the species of trees and shrubs that will support these beautiful little birds, ct.audubon.org/plant-native-species-0.

We thank Audubon Connecticut in helping us all to become better stewards of our environment and its inhabitants.

 

Gina Gould Ph.D., Greenwich Tree Conservancy Board Member
JoAnn Messina, Executive Director, Greenwich Tree Conservancy
Greenwich

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