Descendants of the avian dinosaurs, birds amaze and amuse us in so many ways.
Soaring high above with outspread wings. Singing mellifluously from a hidden perch. Swimming along with their chicks on their backs. Dazzling us with brilliant displays of color. Hovering with wings that move so fast they appear only as a blur.
And they’re fighters, too. Birds like the American Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, and Aleutian Canada Goose have survived habitat loss, illegal hunting, lead poisoning, and the excessive use of DDT. Slowly rebuilding their populations, they fought their way off the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with help from such organizations as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Audubon Society and from millions of ardent and active birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
But will the ESA itself survive the current political climate? Some politicians have wanted to kill the Endangered Species Act for many years. And now they have the best opportunity to do so—along with other inconvenient environmental legislation designed to keep our air and water clean, safeguard our oceans, and check the rampant advance of climate change.
If you admire and enjoy birds and other creatures as much as I do and if you’re as concerned as I am about the fate of our environment, I encourage you to let your local and state representative know about your concerns. Tell them that you support strong environmental legislation—including the Endangered Species Act—and urge them to preserve the Environmental Protection Agency and its mission to protect the environment for all of us.
And if you can, please support organizations like the American Bird Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Marine Mammal Center, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, and many other organizations dedicated to the protection of our invaluable national assets.
For many of these organizations, the holiday season offers them the opportunity to build their membership and raise money to support their efforts to protect the environment. By visiting the Audubon Society, for example, you can adopt a bird (like an American Bald Eagle)—either for yourself or as a gift for a bird lover you know—and support the work of the Audubon Society in the process.
Birds like the Whopping Crane, California Condor, Kirtland’s Warbler, and Ivory-billed Woodpecker; mammals like the Black-footed Ferret, American Pica, Stellar Sea Lion, California Bighorn Sheep, and Woodland Caribou; reptiles like the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Desert Tortoise, Gopher Tortoise, and Gila Monster; and many amphibians, fish, insects, and plants may not survive without the assistance of the Endangered Species Act. And people like you who stand up to speak on their behalf.