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Silence Of The Songbirds

by Bridget Stutchbury
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publishing date: 01/05/2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780802716095
  • ISBN: 0802716091

Synopsis

Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, the Eastern kingbird?migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. By some estimates, we may already have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago. Renowned biologist Bridget Stutchbury convincingly argues that songbirds truly are the ?canaries in the coal mine”?except the coal mine looks a lot like Earth and we are the hapless excavators.

 

Following the birds on their six-thousand-mile migratory journey, Stutchbury leads us on an ecological field trip to explore firsthand the major threats to songbirds: pesticides, still a major concern decades after Rachel Carson first raised the alarm; the destruction of vital habitat, from the boreal forests of Canada to the diminishing continuous forests of the United States to the grasslands of Argentina; coffee plantations, which push birds out of their forest refuges so we can have our morning fix; the bright lights and structures in our cities, which prove a minefield for migrating birds; and global warming. We could well wake up in the near future and hear no songbirds singing. But we won’t just be missing their cheery calls, we’ll be missing a vital part of our ecosystem. Without songbirds, our forests would face uncontrolled insect infestations, and our trees, flowers, and gardens would lose a crucial element in their reproductive cycle. As Stutchbury shows, saving songbirds means protecting our ecosystem and ultimately ourselves.

 

Some of the threats to songbirds:

? The U.S. annually uses 4?5 million pounds of active ingredient acephate, an insecticide that, even in small quantities, throws off the navigation systems of White-throated sparrows and other songbirds, making them unable to tell north from south.

? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservatively estimated that 4?5 million birds are killed by crashing into communication towers each year.

? A Michigan study found that 600 domestic cats killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season.

Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, the Eastern kingbird?migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. By some estimates, we may already have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago. Renowned biologist Bridget Stutchbury convincingly argues that songbirds truly are the ?canaries in the coal mine”?except the coal mine looks a lot like Earth and we are the hapless excavators.
 
Following the birds on their six-thousand-mile migratory journey, Stutchbury leads us on an ecological field trip to explore firsthand the major threats to songbirds: pesticides, still a major concern decades after Rachel Carson first raised the alarm; the destruction of vital habitat, from the boreal forests of Canada to the diminishing continuous forests of the United States to the grasslands of Argentina; coffee plantations, which push birds out of their forest refuges so we can have our morning fix; the bright lights and structures in our cities, which prove a minefield for migrating birds; and global warming. We could well wake up in the near future and hear no songbirds singing. But we won’t just be missing their cheery calls, we’ll be missing a vital part of our ecosystem. Without songbirds, our forests would face uncontrolled insect infestations, and our trees, flowers, and gardens would lose a crucial element in their reproductive cycle. As Stutchbury shows, saving songbirds means protecting our ecosystem and ultimately ourselves.
 
Some of the threats to songbirds:
? The U.S. annually uses 4?5 million pounds of active ingredient acephate, an insecticide that, even in small quantities, throws off the navigation systems of White-throated sparrows and other songbirds, making them unable to tell north from south.
? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservatively estimated that 4?5 million birds are killed by crashing into communication towers each year.
? A Michigan study found that 600 domestic cats killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season.
Bridget Stutchbury completed her Ph.D. at Yale University, was a research associate at the Smithsonian Institute, and is now professor of biology at York University in Toronto. She lives in Woodbridge, Ontario, and in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.
Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, the Eastern kingbird?migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. By some estimates, we may already have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago. Renowned biologist Bridget Stutchbury convincingly argues that songbirds truly are the ?canaries in the coal mine”?except the coal mine looks a lot like Earth and we are the hapless excavators.
 
Following the birds on their six-thousand-mile migratory journey, Stutchbury leads us on an ecological field trip to explore firsthand the major threats to songbirds: pesticides, still a major concern decades after Rachel Carson first raised the alarm; the destruction of vital habitat, from the boreal forests of Canada to the diminishing continuous forests of the United States to the grasslands of Argentina; coffee plantations, which push birds out of their forest refuges so we can have our morning fix; the bright lights and structures in our cities, which prove a minefield for migrating birds; and global warming. We could well wake up in the near future and hear no songbirds singing. But we won’t just be missing their cheery calls, we’ll be missing a vital part of our ecosystem. Without songbirds, our forests would face uncontrolled insect infestations, and our trees, flowers, and gardens would lose a crucial element in their reproductive cycle. As Stutchbury shows, saving songbirds means protecting our ecosystem and ultimately ourselves.
 
Some of the threats to songbirds:
? The U.S. annually uses 4?5 million pounds of active ingredient acephate, an insecticide that, even in small quantities, throws off the navigation systems of White-throated sparrows and other songbirds, making them unable to tell north from south.
? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservatively estimated that 4?5 million birds are killed by crashing into communication towers each year.
? A Michigan study found that 600 domestic cats killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season.
"Important [and] enlightening...Here is an essential primer for any person who cares about our planet as a whole, or about our immediate environment. It's an eye-opener, to bird watchers, and an introduction that once again illuminates how nature is subtle beyond our humble efforts to comprehend."?Irene Wanner, San Francisco Chronicle
 
"Few scientists know migratory birds as intimately as Bridget Stutchbury, who has followed them with wonder and passion from the jungles of Costa Rica and Belize to the hardwood forests of North America."?Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind and Return to Wild America

"Bridget Stutchbury is a leading authority on the science of migratory songbirds, but she understands the magic, too, and knows how to express it in clear, rich prose.  Silence of the Songbirds has heart as well as brains, telling us not only what we risk losing but also why we should care."?Kenn Kaufman, author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America

"Nearly half a century ago, Rachel Carson warned us of the grim plight of songbirds, sparking an uproar that led ultimately to the banning of DDT. In Silence of the Songbirds, Bridget Stutchbury makes clear that the dangers migratory songbirds face are greater than ever. Her book is an eloquent plea on behalf of songbirds, and also gives practical suggestions on things we can all do to help?for the good of the birds as well as the human race."?Tim Gallagher, author of The Grail Bird

"Bridget Stutchbury takes us from the tropical forests of Panama to her farm in Pennsylvania, sharing her personal stories about birds as well as the latest scientific information explaining the disappearance of songbirds. The solutions are a win-win-win for birds, people, and the environment. If you care about birds, you owe it to yourself?and to the birds?to read this eye-opening book."?Miyoko Chu, author of Songbird Journeys

"An alarming, first-hand journey through the world of disappearing songbirds by a premier scientist. A must-read for anyone who cares about our planet and our place in it."?Donald Kroodsma, author of The Singing Life of Birds

"Bridget Stutchbury's writing draws us deeply into the personal lives of the birds, where little-known calls are pregnant with meaning. How joyful it is to learn such intimate and steamy details about the secret language of the birds."?Lang Elliott, author of The Songs of Wild Birds

"A gripping revelation?both of the deeply fascinating biology of songbirds and the daunting challenges they face in a human-dominated world. Bridget Stutchbury makes it impossible to look at a songbird the same old way ever again. A joy for bird-watchers and non bird-watchers alike."?Thomas E. Lovejoy, president of the J. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment

"Highly accessible and engaging, Silenc...

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  • Very Informational and useful
    From Amazon

    This is an excellent book written by a very knowledgeable author, I enjoyed the engaging prose and the serious scientific facts presented in a very convincing way. I highly recommended to any birder or to anyone interested in nature.

  • A Bird Conservation Must Read
    From Amazon

    A book full of fascinating stories that weave together Stutchbury's years of field experience and research with easy-to-understand explanations of the state of our understanding about bird ecology and behavior and how they interact with the issues impacting bird populations. I was taken-aback by the stats on pesticide use here and in Latin America and intrigued by the discussion of how fragmentation of habitat can change the behavioral and social fabric of bird species. I highly recommend it for all who care about birds, behavior, and the environment. from http://www.borealbirds.org/blog/?p=94 Jeff Wells, author Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk

  • Great book !
    From Amazon

    Purchased this for my wife, who is an Audubon Board member and leads a young birders group. She loved reading this !

  • Why we continue to lose large numbers of songbirds and what each of us can do to help reverse this alarming trend.
    From Amazon

    I am always very grateful when an author presents his or her subject matter in concise and easy to understand language. I most certainly found this to be the case with "Silence of the Songbirds". Author Bridget Stutchbury, a professor of biology at York University in Toronto and a woman widely recognized as an international birding expert gives her readers plenty to ponder in her new book. If you are reading about this subject for the very first time then you could not have chosen a better book to get up to speed on these issues. And for those who have some familiarity with this topic "Silence of the Songbirds" provides lots of new and important information. It seems that scientists have learned an awful lot about songbirds just in the past couple of decades. And what remarkable lives they lead! Innovative new technolgies have allowed scientists to tag and track birds in an effort to learn more about the breeding habits and migratory patterns of these magnificent creatures. "Silence of the Songbirds" explores the many obstacles and threats facing birds like the wood thrush, Eastern kingbirds and Kentucky warblers to name but a few. I simply had no idea of the scope of the problems that threaten the very existence of many of these species. And while the main problem continues to be a loss of habitat for these birds there are also a host of other threats that they must reckon with. Armed with well-researched facts and figures, Bridget Stansbury makes a compelling case that there will be serious long-term consequences not only to these birds but to our environment as well if we fail to deal with these problems in the near future. Fortunately, Bridget Stutchbury offers a number of practical ways that each of one of us can help to make the world a more hospitable place for our fine feathered friends. But while the individual choices we make can be helpful it is really not enough. Write a letter to the editor and discuss these issues with family and friends. How we choose to utilize our land and other natural resources is a conversation that we really need to have in this country. In the meantime I strongly urge everyone to read "Silence of the Songbirds". This is an extremely well written book that deserves your time and attention. Highly recommended!

  • Recommended for all public and school libraries.
    From Amazon

    Author Bridget Stutchbury is a bird researcher and biology professor in Canada and here considers the current condition of songbirds and their habitats in a book which rivals SILENT SPRING for its message about endangered birds. From fragmentation of bird habitats to the idea that another 25 percent of bird species cold be extinct by the time our great grandchildren reach adulthood - added to the fact that the songbird population has already been halved over the last forty years, SILENCE OF THE SONGBIRDS is a wake-up call for any who would understand the dangers. Recommended for all public and school libraries. Diane C. Donovan California Bookwatch

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