Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SFC: The birds are back

Earlier this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported delightful news: Populations along the Pacific Flyway appear healthy.

You don't have to be an avid birder to be thrilled by the winter aggregations of geese, ducks and shorebirds in the Sacramento Valley - or along Tomales or Richardson bays, or the alkali lakes of northeastern California. You simply have to be human, and demonstrate moderate sensitivity to the extreme beauty and power that nature can manifest.

In a world of swelling human population, metastasizing conurbations and plummeting wildlife populations, the continental flyways - and the Pacific Flyway in particular - stand as singular exceptions to the general trend. In almost every other wildlife-related sphere, things are, frankly, going to hell in a concrete handbasket.

In the 1980s, about 3 million ducks and geese plied the Pacific Flyway. Today, the number is between 5 and 6 million. Twenty years ago, Pacific white-fronted geese were down to 100,000; now, they're up to 600,000. The same is true of Aleutian geese, which have jumped in numbers from 700 to 100,000. All the major species of ducks save for three - greater and lesser scaup, and northern pintails - have expanded their populations significantly.
Lots of information in the article. Go read it!

The comments section included one that was against hunting and one that pointed out hunters' role as conservationists. Guess which one had the most recommendations. You might be surprised by the margin of difference, given the paper's location.

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1 Comments:

Blogger dguzman said...

That's great news! We're still seeing some late birds over here in PA, and enjoying some rarer species. Must be a good year over here too.

November 26, 2007 7:44 AM  

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