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2018: Year of The Bird

By Jan McGruder


I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have discovered birds. It was actually at my grandmother’s knee that I first learned how valuable they are to our lives. We made suet together and hung it out for the woodpeckers. She lived a short distance from Cornell University, so we spent many an afternoon rambling through Sapsucker Woods to see who was there.

 American Goldfinch

When I moved west, birding was a whole different world - new birds, different attitudes. Nature seems to be more ingrained in the lives of more people out here than back east. Or maybe I just hung out with a different crowd then.

After having lived in the West for so long, in the era of post-Silent Spring, I believed we were all on the same page. Americans valued our public lands, the wildlife who live there, the clean water and air we all need to survive, and the beauty of our nation. This past year has really burst my bubble. Over my adult life I’ve seen many, many green spaces disappear, as well as the animals and birds who lived there. Species are disappearing and we’re running out of natural resources. I believe we’re at a tipping point and I can sense the teeter tottering.


It’s so hard not to get discouraged. In one year the threats of deregulation have been breathtaking and the promises to open our public lands to commercialization are horrifying. Once steps are taken to log, mine, and drill, we won’t be able to recoup our America. We won’t recognize ourselves and the land we cherish so much.


One bright spot in this era of despair is the proclaiming of 2018 as the Year of the Bird. National Audubon, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have chosen 2018 as the year to celebrate birds around the world – and in our own backyards. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was signed 100 years ago, so it’s only fitting that we have a party.


We at Eastside Audubon are committed to protecting birds and their habitats, and hope you will join us in this commitment. I want to make sure that my nieces and nephews, grand neighbors, and those generations who follow me have air to breathe, water to drink, and birds to enjoy. Don’t you?


You can find out more about what’s going on to celebrate birds, and how you can help, by going to National Audubon’s website ( , or National Geographic’s website (



Happy Birding!


Photo by Mick Thompson

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.