2018 - The Year of the Bird

Psst…Have you heard? 2018 has been designated as the year of the bird. How so you ask? Well in the latest Audubon magazine, David Yarnold, CEO/PRESIDENT, AUDUBON, states that the charismatic editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine (Susan Goldberg) called and asked about an alliance between the two organizations to declare 2018 as The Year of the Bird. What if other organizations could come together and use all their storytelling expertise to elevate birds and the important place they have in our ecosystems?

After all in 2018, we mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdLife International were quickly aboard as lead co-partners resulting in dozens of other organizations lending support for the project. During the entire year, Audubon and Nat Geo will feature stories and stunning photography from around the world.

But the Year of the Bird isn’t a passive exercise - you, me, all of us have a critical role to play. Suggestions and simple actions will be outlined to help protect birds, spread joy and inspire countless among us. To this end, a collaborative web site will be created at: http://www.birdyourworld.org. Once up and running, it should be great.

National Geographic magazine is renowned for its color photography. The Year of the Bird issue is no exception! For a taste, go to: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/year-of-the-bird/

Once you get past the drop dead image of a Painted Bunting at the site, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom where you can explore stories from the other three lead partners. Audubon features How Birds Bind Us. The BirdLife International link explores How Small Actions Can Make a Big Difference. Finally, Cornell Lab, as, after all it is a new year, offers 6 Resolutions to Help You Bird Your World. Resolution number 6 at the link is simply, “Pay it forward. As the weather gets nicer and the birds more colorful, invite a friend to go birding with you. Lead a bird watching trip. Join a local or national bird group.”

Now you don’t have to read all the articles in one sitting (though I can’t imagine why not), but just remember that the link is waiting for you right here in the online January Crier. Better yet, bookmark it on your browser.

While exploring content on the Nat Geo link, be sure to click on “Count Me In”. You merely enter your email address to join nature lovers from around the world in making 2018 the Year of the Bird. Each month you will be sent one simple action you can take to make a difference for birds and for the planet.

Why bother? When I first started seeking birds at the turn of the century (18 years ago folks), with a little guidance and effort I could go out into Yakima County and with a reasonable effort, I could find a Ferruginous Hawk, a Burrowing Owl, a Bobolink and a Sage Grouse. Last year in Yakima County, I did not have the thrill of seeing any of those species. Did you? Back then Evening Grosbeaks would come to my backyard feeder by the dozens…rare now is the visit of one or two.

According to Washington Audubon, 189 climate-sensitive bird species occur in Washington. How many will wink out without being enjoyed by future generations? If you take the “Count Me In” pledge and only complete one action in the coming year, you will have done something.

If we love birds, we must tune into 2018 The Year of the Bird!

-Richard Repp