Sunday, October 19, 2014

Does the "Peoples Stadium" give precaution the bird?

Have you heard of the Precautionary Principle? Most versions I can find online read about like this:
When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
I would respectfully suggest that the wanton destruction of a portion of the migratory bird population constitutes harm to the environment, particularly in an age when the threat of mosquito-transmitted diseases is increasing due to Anthropogenic Climate Disruption's effects and said songbirds have been know to eat said mosquitos. David Sibley (of the Sibley Guides) has nicely given us an insight into the relative impact of windows on birds (no pun intended for a change).

A chart showing estimated numbers of birds killed annually
by each of several different causes. Data from various sources.

The United States government, through the Fish and Wildlife Service, notes:
Added to deaths from natural causes, such as adverse weather, predation, or starvation, human-related bird deaths may result in greater mortality than a population can withstand. In other words, it is the cumulative or combined impact of all mortality factors that concerns scientists most. (emphasis added)
That certainly reads differently to me than the assessment in Saturday's Star Tribune editorial. Furthermore, the bottom two lines in the chart above certainly don't seem to support Dr. Zink's comment in that same editorial that
“People keeping their cats indoors would have a far greater impact on bird survival than whatever happens with the stadium,” said University of Minnesota ornithology Prof. Robert Zink.
Nowhere in the preceding is it suggested that habitat destruction is not a major, or perhaps the major, contributor to migratory bird mortality. Wildlife, including songbirds, can't be stockpiled and saved for the future. It has a natural life cycle. I've been a bird hunter of grouse and waterfowl long enough to know that. I also know that wildlife managers are concerned about whether hunting mortality is additive or compensatory to natural mortality of a population. Shouldn't entertainment complexes and "peoples' stadiums" be looked at in the same way?

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