Imagine waking up in the morning and never hearing a bird chirping again, never seeing a mother bird with a flock of little birds behind her. Imagine looking up and never seeing the wings of a bird soaring above you ever again. Could this be what our future is coming to?
Here in the valley, we are lucky to have accessibility to the Columbia Wetlands, but with it comes a great responsibility to protect and conserve the species living within the wetlands. Maybe you’re a resident of the area or just a visitor; no matter who you are, you pass by the beauty that is the wetlands area of the Colombia Valley to arrive in the region.
The wetlands are home to a variety of species of birds, fish, and even larger mammals such as moose, wolves and bears. One of the great residents of the area is the great blue heron — our wetlands are the home to the second largest concentration of this species. The great blue heron is a species at risk to go extinct and that is why protecting their habitat that is our backyard is so important
According to a recent study by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, one-third of all bird species in North America need urgent conservation action. The report states that 432 species, which is 37 per cent of bird species, are most at risk without conservation efforts.
What is threatening our birds here in the valley? Habitat loss is the greatest threat to our birds; the area’s birds like to nest and live, so do people. Developments of golf courses and housing in the grasslands remove vital habitat for the bird species. With little to no investment in creating an alternative space for these birds to live in, they more and more steadily declining in population.
What can we do to help with conservation and protection of our at risk species such as the blue heron? Investment in the local habitat is a simple and great way to help with conservation and protection of the species. By planting trees with fruit the birds can eat, creating nest boxes in your backyard and reducing the use of pesticides will go a long way to creating a healthy habitat for our bird species.
Being more conscious of your environmental impact, cleaning up the shores and protecting what areas these birds have left is key to providing a safe and healthy home where we can co-exist.
Nikki Fredrikson is The Valley Echo’s summer intern and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.