The Deafening Silence of the Songbirds

The latest Breeding Bird Atlas results along with other worldwide studies have indicated that there is a serious deterioration in the numbers of many bird species. In her excellent book, Silence of the Songbirds, Dr. Bridget Stutchbury explains how we are losing the songbirds. Some estimates suggest that we may have already lost half of them in the last forty years. The best aspect of the book, however, is that there is hope because there are things that we all can do.

It is imperative that we act now!

The problems our songbirds face on their journeys include tropical deforestation, lethal pesticides, loss of important habitat used for migration, cats, colliding with buildings and towers and loss and fragmentation of rich breeding grounds.


Buy shade or sustainable coffee that is organic and fairly traded. Increases tropical forest habitat for birds and other wildlife; conserves soil; provides fair profits for farmers; fewer pesticides in the environment.
When buying products from Latin America, such as bananas and pineapples, choose organic only. There are pesticides is use in these areas which cannot be used or are restricted in North America because they are so dangerous to birds and humans. These include monocrotophos, Terbufos and Methamidophos.
Buy organic only, the North American crops that pose the greatest risk to birds because of pesticides: alfalfa, Brussels sprouts, blueberries, celery, corn, cotton, cranberries, potatoes and wheat. Reduces the danger to birds as well as to you, the consumer.
Buy wood and paper products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Increases amount of forest being logged sustainably and responsibly; better habitat for birds and a healthier forest.
Buy disposable paper products that are made from recycled paper and that are not bleached with chlorine. Reduces logging pressure on forests; increases habitat for birds; creates less pollution.
Turn off the lights at night in city buildings and homes during peak migration periods. Many birds are killed by colliding into buildings that are all lit up. Light pollution interferes with their navigation.
Keep your cat indoors. Cats are predators and kill a lot of wildlife. Studies have shown that cats live longer and healthier lives when kept indoors.


Many thanks to Dr. Stutchbury for granting us permission to use excerpts from her book. For more information on the book see “Birding”>”Bird Books”.