Hello everyone, glad to have you all back around again. This last week has been one of the more hectic weeks so far but it was also the most rewarding. Yes, after a couple of weeks of planning, we celebrated World Migratory Bird Day here at Yaquina Head Outstanding natural Area as along with others across the world. It’s a day to celebrate some of the most extraordinary birds that migrate from South America all the way up to the cold north to breed.
Some of you might be thinking, “Sure these are impressive birds that travel thousands of miles either non-stop or overall but what makes them so important”? That’s a fair enough question. To many these might just be some odd looking birds that you see a couple of times out of the year but they are much more than that. They are a representation of how well wetland ecosystems are doing. Wetlands and other areas that the shorebirds inhabit rely on these birds for nutrients when they visit that they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Shorebirds may not be a ferocious predator that keeps an ecosystem in check but they are species that help maintain the health of an ecosystem. Their droppings help the microorganisms thrive in the area. And like a domino effect, these microorganisms are eaten by other animals which get eaten by other animals such as the shorebirds. It’s a complicated system that has taken a long time to form but that now relies on one another.
If you haven’t heard about World Migratory Bird Day or weren’t able to visit an area that threw an event for it, don’t worry! There’s still ways you can celebrate it and even incorporate it in your daily lives. This year’s theme was plastics. More specifically, to “Be the Plastic Solution to the Plastic Pollution”. It might seem like a straightforward task but in some cases people just are not aware of the little changes they can do in their lives that can make all the difference. Choosing to use a reusable water bottle rather than using single use plastic bottles, reusing plastic utensils you might get from restaurants, or to use your own cloth bags when going out to the grocery store help reduce the amount of plastics that will end up entangling an animal or eating it. By starting with small changes such as these can end up make a huge difference in the long scheme of things. Even when taking a stroll on the beach you can do your part to help the shorebirds and marine life to ensure that the area stays healthy and thriving for years to come. Picking up micro trash along with the larger pieces can prevent animals from getting entangled in it or worse, ingesting it. But while there are some easy to spot plastics, there are also natural occurring items that get washed up on the beach that may look like trash at first glance. Items like kelp stalks that dried over time or seagrass that has shriveled up may look like rubber wiring or bundled up packing paper to beach goers that may accidentally throw these valuable items in the trash.
There’s lots of ways to help the world of the shorebirds along with with all the other animals that come in daily contact with single use plastics. All it takes is a small steps.