To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

New Observercast

A World Without Birdsong

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BY JIM BUSH

There’s a Native American belief called the “hour of the wolf.” As described in the book, Seeds of Change, it is “the darkest moment just before daybreak, when symphonies of crickets, cicadas, and birds resound across the land to stimulate the plants to drink the morning dew.”

I think that’s the most beautiful and poetic concept I’ve ever heard of. And what if it is literally true? What if birdsong really plays a part in stimulating the growth of plants?

Farfetched, you say. Not so quick. Chris Bird, coauthor of The Secret Life of Plants, actually conducted experiments that demonstrated the potent effects of sound on plants.

If you’ve ever awakened in the country to what is known as “the dawn chorus” you may have experienced that power of early morning birdsong. The dawn chorus is when all the birds in the area begin singing right before the sun comes up. The more birds the louder and stronger the symphony. I have heard and felt it viscerally while camping beside a marsh in East Texas.

I am bringing this up because of another onslaught on nature proposed by the Trump administration. According to an ABC News report, “The Trump administration wants to end the 50-year practice of using criminal penalties under the migratory bird law to pressure companies into taking measures to prevent unintentional bird deaths.”

Former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director, Dan Ashe, says “removing that obligation, if it stands, over the next several decades will result in billions of birds being casualties.” That’s billions with a B. “It will be catastrophic,” he concludes.

The news story stated that “Industry sources kill an estimated 450 million to 1.1 billion birds annually out of an overall 7.2 billion birds in North America, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife and recent sources.

“The Trump administration dismissed Ashe’s dire prediction, contending companies will continue to avoid bird deaths voluntarily.”

Right. We all know how well that sort of thing has worked out.

These alarming warnings from the experts come on top of recent reports that nearly three billion birds have disappeared from North America since 1970. That’s nearly a third of the birds native to the region. Gone!

Maybe there are those who would be satisfied to live in a world without birdsong. I am not one of them.

Jim Bush is a Waxahachie, TX-based singer, songwriter, poet, philosopher and environmentalist.

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