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You are here: Home Corvid Crier Stories 2018-02 Bird Protectors

Bird Protectors

By Andy McCormick

The Audubon Society was founded to protect birds and has been doing a good job at it since 1905. I think it is time we officially adopted the moniker “bird protectors” to make it specific as to what we are doing.

 Song Sparrow


As Naomi Klein reports in her new book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota organized thousands of people to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was being built by Energy Transfer Partners under Lake Oahe, the only source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux, and a section of the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for 17 million people. The movement’s Lakota-language slogan, which was heard around the world, was Mni Wiconi, which means “water is life.” The people called themselves “water protectors,” because they wanted to protect their natural inheritance of clean water.


Reading this made me think about Audubon and our national organization’s commitment to educating people about climate change and its effect on birds, our work to protect and restore bird habitat, and our efforts to maintain bird diversity by protecting threatened species. We are bird protectors and we want to preserve birds as a natural part of the world we share with them.


We at Eastside Audubon do many things to protect birds. We have successfully transitioned our investments away from fossil fuel producing companies, and no longer have holdings in carbon-based energy. This change was made in direct response to the Audubon Climate Report, which estimated that over 300 bird species are threatened by warming of our planet Earth.


Our Youth Education Committee members teach hundreds of children each year about birds and their needs and habitat. Our Conservation Committee has responded to the threat from climate change and worked with other local organizations to comment on the risks to birds and humans from proposed oil transport trains and ships, and coal shipping terminals in Washington State. Our bird survey team has conducted year-long surveys at St. Edward State Park, Mercer Slough Nature Park, the Cougar-Squak Corridor, Gold Creek Park, and the Tolt Pipeline Trail in Woodinville, documenting the occurrence and distribution of birds in these areas, which are threatened with development. Our field trips bring people to experience birds in their habitat.


Indeed, we are bird protectors. And, they do need protection. Bird populations in North America are down by at least 50% in the past 50 years. Neotropical migrants, those wonderful warblers, tanagers, orioles, flycatchers, and thrushes, need our protection more than many other birds. Shorebirds migrate by the millions and need protection for shoreline habitat.



Commit to becoming a bird protector. It will change the way you look at birds, and how you choose to help them. 


Song Sparrow, 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.