Maybe it’s because I have developed greater affection towards birds since I began studying their incredible structural colors at UAkron. Maybe it’s because I love the birdsongs that are a sign of spring. Maybe it’s because they’re part of nature and I want to protect natural wonders from being devastated by human actions. Everyone has different reasons to care. Whatever the reason, this article struck me deeply and I felt the urge to share it. “Last song for migrating birds”, published in July’s issue of National Geographic is about the massacre of migrating songbirds by human hunters. I knew birds were hunted, but before reading this article I believed the practice was better regulated. This article clearly proves otherwise. The problem is most severe in the Mediterranean region with Egypt being the worst, while Italian hunters are the most notorious. The reason why they do it? Food. They are being sold to high-end restaurants as a delicacy. Their target? Every single migratory bird they can nab. Even the small ones, which yield no more than 2 bite-sized pieces of meat. How? Their hunting equipment is very elaborate: guns, lime sticks (sticky traps covering branches), nets draped on trees, and metal snap traps with berries as bait (like mousetraps). The images are horrifying. Moreover, they have an extensive repertoire of taped bird songs to attract the migrating birds.
My purpose isn’t to summarize the article here, but I kindly encourage you to click the link provided and read the full story. It made me realize how important it is to speak out against unfair and destructive human actions, support the activists and volunteers, and to push the government to take sincere actions. Even with the existing laws protecting overhunting of birds, the population and diversity is visibly shrinking. Therefore, the deep problems that instigate this misbehavior have to be addressed. Educating people about this problem will be a key factor for changing mindsets. Right now birds are being treated as any other consumable resource. They aren’t cared for or respected. There has to be a way to transform people into passionate bird-watchers, or at least foster appreciation for the amazing things we can learn from birds, like how hummingbirds have a split tongue which they fold into a tube for feeding, or that the strike of the eagle talon is twice as powerful as a rifle bullet.