If birds ruled the world, here’s what they’d do:
First, they’d advise human operators of mowers, pruners, leaf blowers, and sprayers to back off a little. Then they’d ask you to provide more—more shrubs to nest and hide in, more trees, more berries, more flowers to attract insects and produce seeds, more wet leaves to harbor worms, more twigs for nest building.
And that lawn you work so hard on? Birds don’t get the appeal. Stephen W. Kress, writing in The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds, is even a bit harsh: “Lawn itself, especially expansive rolling fields of it, is one of the most destitute bird habitats on earth.”
But you don’t have to turn your garden into an overgrown tangle to attract birds. Most of the things birds prefer will actually make the lives of gardeners easier and their gardens more beautiful. For example, replacing as much lawn grass as you dare with medium-size shrubs and small trees will save you time and money. Should a dandelion or two flower in the remaining turf, at least the goldfinches will be happy.
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Capt. John Cota “failed to exercise sound judgment,” the pilot commission ruled in a report released this week. Cota has already given up his license and is under a seven count indictment in Federal court of violating the law by spilling oil and killing federally protected birds.
Cota, 60 of Petaluma, CA was in charge of piloting the 900-foot container ship out of San Francisco Bay on November 7, 2007 when it smashed into the Bay Bridge. After side-swiping the bridge, the ship’s tanks carrying bunker oil were ruptured. The 50,000 gallon spill killed at least 2,500 birds.
“Oh, yeah, it’s so foggy. I shouldn’t have gone,” the Cota was recorded saying on the morning of the spill. “I’m not going to do well on this one.” The morning fog was thick during the 8:30 AM mishap.
The 65,000-ton ship, which was bound for Busan, South Korea, was moving at nearly 13 miles an hour when it hit the bridge tower.
IBRRC and other agencies worked feverishly following the spill to capture and save as many oiled birds as possible. More than 1,000 birds were brought to our bird center in Fairfield, CA. Only 421 were returned the wild. Some biologists estimate that some 20,000 birds ultimately died in the spill and may have died elsewhere or sunk in the bay.
Read more: San Francisco Chronicle