As a lifelong sportsman and bird watcher, it was alarming to read the National Wildlife Federation’s latest report documenting on how climate change is affecting migratory birds.
The report: Shifting Skies: Migratory Birds in a Warming World, warns that many species common to Pennsylvania are likely to disappear.
For example, the prairie pothole region is a huge system of shallow wetlands extending from Montana, through southern Canada, all the way to Iowa. This area has been called the duck factory of North America, producing about 50 percent of all the waterfowl. Once the ducks finish breeding, they fly to all parts of the country, where they are pursued by both waterfowl hunters and bird watchers. Bird watching is big business, with birders generating over $54 billion in economic activity nationwide, and spending over $4 billion on bird seed.
The pothole wetlands are especially vulnerable to climate change because they are shallow and entirely dependent on rainfall. The expected temperature increases and prolonged droughts will not only speed the rate of evaporation but also dry up many of them. And as the potholes go, so goes waterfowl production.
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My family has fished and camped all over our great country for over 40 years. But I I have to wonder if my grandson will enjoy the same outdoor opportunities that I grew up with. Already, wildlife all across the country is being impacted, so we need to have our representatives begin the process of reducing our dependence on dirty fossil and on to clean renewable energy.
We have no time to lose.