Two of the six marbled godwits spotted at Willow Lake in Prescott earlier this week. (Eric Moore/Courtesy)

Last week, a report was published in Science Magazine detailing the decline in the number of birds in North America. It is estimated that there are close to three billion fewer birds now than there were in 1970. This means that approximately 29% of the entire bird population in the Western Hemisphere has disappeared!

By nature, I try to be positive and optimistic about the future, but such a startling report is hard to ignore. The report states that “slowing the loss of biodiversity is one of the defining environmental challenges of the 21st century.”

For years, we’ve all seen the bumper sticker, ‘Think globally; act locally.’ Like me, you may be wondering what a single individual or household can do to make a difference. On Tuesday of this week, I received an email from the American Bird Conservancy — it was their reaction, and an action plan, to combat the bad news outlined in the Science Magazine report.

The ABC is calling their plan the 50-50-5 Action Plan. Their goals are to 1) save 50 flagship bird species represented in major ecosystems across the Western Hemisphere, 2) protect and conserve 50 million acres and 3) fight five critical threats to birds: habitat loss, climate change, pesticides, collisions and invasive species — focusing particularly on outdoor cats.

The ABC is calling for donations. Obviously, any effort to save 50 critical species, conserve 50 million acres and educate the public on the five critical threats to birds is going to take money!

But back to my earlier question — what can we do to make a difference? Personally, I think all of us can focus on the five critical threats in the following ways:

  1. Improve the habitat in our yards — make our yards bird friendly, provide places for birds to find food and water and provide shelter and places to rear young.
  2. Combat climate change by reducing our consumption of natural resources, including water and energy.
  3. Eliminate the use of pesticides — completely.
  4. Install products designed to reduce window collisions, which result in the death of millions of birds each year.
  5. We can keep our cats indoors. Cats are responsible for killing millions and millions of wild birds each year. I invite you to join me in a united effort to do our part to turn the tide on this globally important issue.

I invite you to attend the Prescott Audubon Society meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, located at 630 Park Ave. The program will be presented by Joe Trudeau, ‘Save the Dells’ co-founder, former chairman and current conservation director.

The title of his presentation is “Save the Dells: The Crossroads of Science, Politics, Advocacy and Real Estate.” Joe will give a rundown on the fight to save the Granite Dells, including how we got where we are at with negotiations with the City of Prescott, the developer, and the campaign’s overlap with the city council election along with the long-range goal of building support for raising $50 million to create a 7,000 acre Granite Dells Regional Park and Preserve.

This is a free event, and refreshments will be served prior to the presentation (from 6:30 to 7). If you have any questions regarding this evening’s presentation, visit the Prescott Audubon Society’s website at or call 928-778-6502.

A quick reminder — Monday, Sept. 30 is the last day to submit pictures for the Jay’s Bird Barn Annual Wild Bird Photography Contest. The exhibit opens to the public for voting on Tuesday, Oct. 1, as part of our Annual Fall Seed Sale and Anniversary Celebration.

Until next week, Happy Birding!

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with two locations in northern Arizona – Prescott and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at