small royal blue bird, with white breast on moss-covered wood
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What Will the Apocalypse Sound Like?

It’s already here. We now know what it sounds like. It’s not a deafening boom of an atomic bomb…not a screech of iron and steel twisting…not a chest-rumbling thud of trees falling…not a frightening pop-pop-pop of gunfire.

It will be a long stretch of silence…… In winter, the flash of a red cardinal against the white snow…gone. Robins will no longer be the sign of spring. As you step outside on that first warm spring morning…silence. The friendly birds chirping will be a rarity…you’ll stop when you think you heard it…and listen intently, hoping for the birds’ chirping to come back…and then you’ll sadly move on when it doesn’t.

The Apocalypse Is Now

These are not future projections. They tell the story—already begun—of 25% of all bird populations. Already lost to climate change forces. Do you remember the silence after 9/11? When all the planes were grounded? It will be like that, only more deeply, profoundly, silent.

A quiet that lasts for months…allowing plenty of space and time for remorse.

At present, 389 species in North America are “at risk.” This is based on current scientific data reported by the Audubon society. The report is full of graphics that let you select your area and see the specific threats to the species you care about. https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees

It Takes 10 Minutes

The time is now…and although climate change and its effect on birds has already started, you can do something to stave off the direst consequences. You can take action on Saturday, October 19.

It’s simple. Join the citizen scientists who will be taking 10 minutes on the 19th to observe and record the birds they see in their area. You don’t need to be a hero…last year I observed and recorded only 4 species, and I was only out for 20 minutes. It’s easy!

How to Participate

  1. Get an eBird Account—a worldwide bird checklist program used by millions of birders, on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. 100% free.  Go here:   ebird.org/home
  2. Watch birds on 19 October—no need to be a bird expert, or spend all day. You only need a minimum of 10 minutes of time.
  3. Enter what you see and hear on eBird—or enter all your information on the free eBird Mobile app. You can enter your information while you’re walking, wherever you’re walking, and the app will even keep track of how far you’ve walked. No need to change your plans—if you were planning to go to take the kids to the park, go ahead and observe birds at the park. If you’re traveling, you can observe birds outside the hotel. Enter your observations not later than October 23.
  4. Merlin ID app—is a free app that will help you ID the birds you see.
  5. Watch the results roll in—During the day, watch the lists grow, as friends from 245 countries look up to the skies together.
two sparrows clinging to dry grass in the snow

Be a part of something bigger than yourself! Last year, 494,594 people around the world participated by completing 38,669,198 checklists. That’s more checklists than the total number of attendees to the World Cup games!

You will be adding data for scientists to study how climate change is affecting bird populations all around us. The data will create a picture of warning…and let’s all hope…progress in holding off the worst consequences.

The Apocalypse Came When We Weren’t Watching

blue and white heron perched on shells against water background

2.9 BILLION birds are already gone—since 1970. These numbers are very real—supported by high scientific confidence. Shorebirds are particularly vulnerable. Go online to see the threats in your area. The charts are easy to follow and are interactive:  https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees

Yet there is hope—if you join the citizen scientist effort on Saturday, October 19.

Your Mission

Open your account tonight when you get home from work: ebird.org/home

And enjoy a relaxing 10-minute walk on Saturday—as of today…with 25% less happy chirping…

Take time to enjoy what could be gone for your children, if you don’t act now. Take them with you to hear the cheerful chirping of birds.

Follow me to get continuing updates on environmental issues.

Share this with your family and friends. Get them to join you!

And tell us all below how your 10 minutes on Saturday went. What did you see?

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