So the enthusiastic comment made by a friend recently completely resonated with me! “I just heard my first whippoorwill of the season just a few minutes ago!" she said. "I LOVE that sound! We don’t hear them very much anymore though,” she lamented. “But I remember as a little girl when people didn’t have to worry about leaving windows up, (with only a screen between you and the outside), after going to bed, just resting quietly and listening as the whippoorwill sang! What an awesome sound. I miss those days,” she added, sadly.
Many seem to agree this is a sound worth hearing. Why? Is it because we can’t hear it anymore in many places? Is it comforting? Some other reason? I can tell you, I know it makes me smile. One friend said the lonesome sound reminds her of her grandmother’s home. If we stop for a moment, most of us can relate to such stories. As children, we are fascinated by the birds of the air, especially when they sing their vibrant tunes or are building nests for their young ones. Another of my favorites includes the Bob White also known as Quail. There was just something magical about his sound….... He seemed to be saying his name: “Bob White!” I haven’t heard that sound in quite a long time.
Bernie Krause, a naturalist and musician using nature’s gift of sound, says our sounds are diminishing as the wild, natural world, continues to be depleted.1 There is very little natural habitat for our wild creatures which has been somehow altered, or completely eliminated by man. It’s creating an eerie silence and if not curbed will create a desolation we may never recover.
Maya Lin, the young woman who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial shares Krause’s view. In an interview in June 2012 she contends the changes are so subtle we don’t even realize the damage until it’s too late. According to her article, statistics indicate a 70% drop in songbirds, and this isn’t the only species of natural wildlife being affected due to human interference. The pronghorn (which look a lot like an antelope) are down in number to 250,00 compared to their once 65 million count! And the Gray Wolf is being treated with care so they number about 250! And sea turtles? They are also endangered.2 When explorers first entered the Caribbean, there were so many sea turtles ship movements came to a virtual stop!4 These are not isolated cases! Honey bees and Grizzly bears are also endangered; the Red Wolf and one site even included Hummingbirds! 3
So I challenge you this week to look at your world and then stop and be silent. Listen to the sounds of the birds around you. What is happening? Do you hear the same sounds you heard as a child, fifteen or twenty years ago? What can be done about it? Consider visiting some sites (included) with specific information on how to help endangered species. Help need only start with one person!
3 http://a-z-animals.com/animals/endangered/ 4 http://www.widecast.org/Conservation/Status.html