Montecito Magazine 2020

“Birds are telling us we must act now to ensure our planet can sustain wildlife and people.” – On balmy mornings throughout the Santa Barbara region, birds chirp, sing and warble, ushering in a fresh new day for all. The bird calls may sound cheery, but today they can easily be interpreted as cries of distress as birds and other wildlife suffer the effects of global climate change. It seems the birds are in serious trouble, calling for humans to take action before it’s too late. A huge alarm regarding the plight of birds in North America rang around the world in September 2019, when Science , one of the world’s leading scientific journals, published the results of a significant study conducted by researchers at seven institutions. This report revealed an unprecedented decline in bird populations in the USA and Canada since 1970: nearly 30 percent, or nearly 3 billion breeding adult birds across diverse species, including backyard birds. The study also found that habitats essential to support bird populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. On the positive side, however, the study also showed that human conservation efforts can help reverse the trend and bring birds back. But we need to act now, before it’s too late. So what exactly can we do to help? Helping Our Feathered Friends By Cheryl Crabtree • Art by Emil Morhardt 52 Montecito Magazine Summer–Fall 2020