Albany good provider of bird habitat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany good provider of bird habitat

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February 7, 2008

Albany -- A Presidential Initiative has been launched to try to reverse a dramatic decline in the United States wild bird populations.   Annual surveys by the Audubon Society show the population of common birds plummeted 70-percent since 1967.

Members of the Albany Chapter are faithful contributors to those surveys and are proud their city took a lead role in preserving bird habitat.

A loggerhead shrike, one of the top 20 birds of concern by wildlife groups because of it's rarity, is spotted Thursday morning by Albany Audubon Society Members right in the middle of downtown Albany, at the Riverfront Park.

These bird advocates say The Riverwalk in downtown Albany is a perfect example of habitat protection that is needed across the country.  Audubon Society Member Elizabeth Dean said "we've made wonderful progress, and we are going to have one of the longest protected river corridors in the state."

Albany Audubon Society members helped produce the stats about declining bird population through years of surveys. President Bush's 2009 budget requests more than 40 million dollars for the Bird Forever Initiative to build and protect habitat to stop the loss of migratory birds.  Alan Ashley said "its very evident. A lot of the birds that I can think of 30 years ago, they'll come by and sing, they are no longer around."  

These bird advocates say suburban sprawl, taking the areas where wildlife live, is the greatest danger.  Dean said "we are going to have to make some tough decisions about where to let people build, and if we are serious about protecting habitat."

Ashley said "we want these birds to be around for our children, grandchildren, and future generations to enjoy. If some action is not taken, then there will be no more birds."

The Riverwalk is a good example of the kind of habitat these bird advocates say is needed across the country for migratory birds to thrive, and stop their declining numbers.

The Albany Chapter of the Audubon Society will meet Thursday February 14 at 7PM at the Albany Riverquarium, if you want to help them in their work.

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