We’ve heard the expression, “a canary in a coal mine,” to make a metaphor of the way in which birds can serve as indicators of toxic environments. Although canaries are no longer carried into mines to test for carbon monoxide, the fates of birds and other winged creatures are often early warning signs of larger damage to the environment. According to scientists from the Audubon Society, over the next decades over 300 species of birds that we love will be endangered or extinct from the effects of habitat loss due to climate change. And of course, what effects birds effects all species, including us.

I used to think of the Audubon Society as an organization for birders who like to hike around in groups and gaze at exotic feathered species  through binoculars. Now I understand that Audubon is a major conservation organization that fosters love of nature’s beauty as well as a commitment to its protection and preservation.

The Audubon Society includes 500 local American chapters that work on conservation, bird sanctuaries, and preservation of irreplaceable habitats. Their centers and sanctuaries are “hubs of conservation exploration, research, and action, allowing millions to discover and defend the natural world.” More than 2,500 Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas identify, prioritize, and protect vital bird habitat from coast to coast in the USA, and they also partner with international organizations, because birds and nature know no borders. We are all interconnected and interdependent.

In addition, Audubon offers fun guidance and programs to get started on birding (bird-watching), photography, and more ways for people of all ages to connect to our environment.

Do you enjoy birding? Have you taken part in a bird census or other environmental activity to benefit birds? Please share some of your favorite moments in the comments.

Continue to the Sharing Circle, or return to the Gateway of Wings.

Featured Image: American Goldfinch, JHD