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Old 03-25-2009, 07:45 PM   #1
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Default Bye Bye Birdie? One-Third of American Birds Are in Decline

Bye Bye Birdie? One-Third of American Birds Are in Decline

Bye Bye Birdie? One-Third of American Birds Are in Decline | 80beats | Discover Magazine
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The birds of America are in trouble, and those living in Hawaiian paradise are the worst off, according to a dire State of the Birds report issued by the U.S. Interior Department. The spreads the alarming news that one-third of bird species across the nation are endangered, threatened, or in serious decline due to habitat loss, polluted water, invasive species, and disease, says the study.
State of the Birds — The 2009 Report
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:32 PM   #2
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We can collectively do much to reverse this as individuals.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:54 AM   #3
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I think there is a lot that could be done at the local level, if only we could get more local governments to cooperate! There is a city near me (Creve Cour) that recently modified its weed laws to stop harassing native plant gardeners and use native plants for its street trees and such which means more insects/berries/shelter for the birds. Unfortunately, I am still talking to person after person who is instead being harassed by local governments for trying to create even small habitat areas in their yards. In my own frustrating experience, I see areas that mowed down for no apparent reason. The areas are not being used for human purposes like picnics or sports, but they just mow them because they are on the list of spots to be mowed costing tax payers to pay wages and gas for something that doesn't need to be done. Finally, when I realized they wouldn't stop mowing, I inquired about putting up some bluebird houses... hey at least something might come of the space.... well guess what, they wouldn't approve that either... I've also been trying to get some bat houses approved... we'll see how that goes but I can see why it's hard to get people involved when they run into these kind of road blocks, but Im persistent so they won't get rid of me
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by midwesternerr View Post
I think there is a lot that could be done at the local level, if only we could get more local governments to cooperate! There is a city near me (Creve Cour) that recently modified its weed laws to stop harassing native plant gardeners and use native plants for its street trees and such which means more insects/berries/shelter for the birds. Unfortunately, I am still talking to person after person who is instead being harassed by local governments for trying to create even small habitat areas in their yards. In my own frustrating experience, I see areas that mowed down for no apparent reason. The areas are not being used for human purposes like picnics or sports, but they just mow them because they are on the list of spots to be mowed costing tax payers to pay wages and gas for something that doesn't need to be done. Finally, when I realized they wouldn't stop mowing, I inquired about putting up some bluebird houses... hey at least something might come of the space.... well guess what, they wouldn't approve that either... I've also been trying to get some bat houses approved... we'll see how that goes but I can see why it's hard to get people involved when they run into these kind of road blocks, but Im persistent so they won't get rid of me
I can tell you that from most city perspectives an empty lot that is full of weeds and tall grass is not only a health hazard, but also a playground for dumping trash and worse. I use to own a landscape contracting buisness many years ago that had a contract with a local city to mow empty lots. The guy who ran our tractor and bush hog was scared that one day he was gonna drive over some bum sleeping it off or worse a dead body. the lots when unkept attracted illegal dumping and made for rats and other rodents easy nesting and food resources. It is also harder for cities that do not maintain their own lots, to enforce grass code height ordanances on their residents. And we all know that cities love to impose fines on Jane and Joe Blow.

While I happen to not have too many issues with letting grass grow high and letting birds and other wildlife have at it, I do have issues with Rodents. Don't bother to tell me they have their place too-I know that, It doesn't mean I have to like them
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:45 PM   #5
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Rats don't have a place on this continent. They are an introduced species brought over by the colonists just like the cat.

"we'll see how that goes but I can see why it's hard to get people involved when they run into these kind of road blocks, but Im persistent so they won't get rid of me " Someday I need to tell you about my neighbor Mrs. Kravitz who kept reporting me for cutting down "trees". I have a stack of pink notes that were stickied to my front door. Mrs. Kravitz was relentless. I used to cringe when there was leaf drop. I could see her with her binoculars watching what we were taking down. This went on for years. She had to add new words to her meager vocabulary. One of them was the word invasive. I won. You can too.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:40 PM   #6
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Actually, I think your post beautifully illustrates the misunderstanding that made talking to that particular city official unproductive, so I hope you don't mind me reusing parts of it.

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lot that is full of weeds and tall grass
Nail on the head here is the persons didn't see any difference between "weeds" and a restored patch of native wildflowers and grases.


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The guy who ran our tractor and bush hog was scared that one day he was gonna drive over some bum sleeping it off or worse a dead body.
Not really relevant to this situation because roadside plants here are burned, not mowed or if they are mowed it's only done once a year when it's way too cold for anyone to be sleeping out there But I wanted to include this because it's an important point why noone should try to mow down wildflower areas midseason (well that and it's not good for the vast majority of the desirable plant life)

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the lots when unkept attracted illegal dumping and made for rats and other rodents easy nesting and food resources.
Also wasn't a concern for him because a boyscout troop had volunteered to do litter pickup as one of their projects, but again I wanted to include this because if you ask a city to make a change such as wildflower planting instead of mowing, waste management needs to be accounted for. Going back to the earlier point though, we have to make a disntinction between native wildflower plantings and "unkept" areas since even though wildflower areas may appear unkept, they are managed by fire, girdling, (and sometimes selective use of chemical controls) to prevent takeover by both invasives and woody natives.

Now for the rodents, numerous hawks are in that area, so I don't the smaller rodents such as mice would overtake the area. Unfortunately, some mice presence is associated with a healthy ecosystem. If we cannot have any mice, then we cannot have hawks, owls, snakes, etc and the whole ecosystem comes off center. It's a hard thing to have to deal people because it will always raise some concerns, but mice have a strong presence in most parks, fields, etc., there are way more of them than I think most people realize because they are quite secretive, but they are also a major food source for many species of wildlife.

As far as rats go, Norway rats are more often associated with people and trash rather than wildflower plantings, but of course there's no way to garuantee that one or two couldn't be in there somewhere. Of course, they are also associated with grain fields, but I don't recommend we stop farming anytime soon

Anyway, going forward I think it's best to find someone in a well-recognized organization like Sierra Club or Audubon or something who likes swooning over city councils and stuff to present the details and get approval and that sort of thing and then do the work. ha. Yea I know they are probably thinking the same thing, "If only we had someone to do the sales pitch!".
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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Tip toeing in. Cats don't kill rats. They may kill a few juveniles but they won't go after any mature adults.
Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Cats
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Q. Don't cats control rats, mice, and other nuisance critters?
A. A study of stray cats in the city of Baltimore, Maryland showed that the cats did not prey on rats over 6 ounces. In fact, cats were seen eating side by side with rats at garbage dumps. There are other studies that show Black or Norway Rats are a very small part of a cat's diet. House Mice, another exotic pest species, can live in small spaces, such as walls or attics, where cats cannot follow, so cats do not do a good job of eliminating these rodents either. In fact, food that is left out for cats can attract and support rodent populations.
This is but one of many studies resulting in the same findings.
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