Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Inconvenient Truth for National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society's 116th annual Christmas Bird Count is in full swing.

The annual annual "Christmas Bird Count," is mostly an unscientific "bird feeder" bird count done when those birds which are at greatest risk of decline (i.e. neo-tropical migrants including most grassland birds) are actually down south in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

In short, this is the wrong time of year to count birds that are truly at risk!

That said, the 116-years worth of data collected by the "Christmas Bird Count" does have some use, if for no other reason than to prove that one of the biggest fables about Bald Eagles is more than a small lie. 

What's the story? Simple: that the Bald Eagles was pushed to the edge of extinction by DDT.

Not quite true. 

In fact, Bald Eagles were pushed to the edge of extinction by bullets and leghold traps long before DDT showed up on the scene. See this previous post for more information about that.

This is NOT to say that the ban on DDT was not good for birds, only that the notion that Bald Eagles were specifically driven off the map by DDT is simply not true, and obscures an important story about the value of the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

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