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Friday, July 21, 2006


Several big trees were cut down yesterday behind our house in the lot across the alley. While I hate to see trees come down (and I think the Carolina Wrens that hang out down there hated it even more than me, they were singing up a storm this morning, probably readjusting their territories), it does open up a wider view of the skyline and the creek down in the park--so maybe it will slightly improve some bird viewing from my back porch.

One of the tricky contradictions between birding and conservation is that many of the best places to see birds are actually not that great as bird habitat, and some of the best bird habitats provide horrible bird viewing. If all you want to do is see lots of birds, there are plenty of places to do that, and many people go birding without thinking much about conservation as long as they have their favorite couple of birding spots to go to regularly. it more important to provide habitat for birds (like the trees in my alley) or to provide bird viewing opportunities (like my wider view of the creek and skyline)? In the bigger scheme of things, bird habitat has to be more important. Now the trick is to get people to understand the habitat value of land and landscaping. Just because you have a bird feeder and 20 species of birds regularly visit your yard, doesn't mean that you have great bird habitat there. The problem isn't that such yards are a glass half full or empty as bird habitat, its that most people with a couple birds in their yard will think everything is hunky dory and not realize what they are still missing.

As for me, I hope that my wrens are able to remain in my neighborhood now that some of their favorite trees are gone--and I need to make longer-term plans for attracting more species to my own yard.

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