27 Jul 2011

Birds and Tar Sands Oil Don’t Mix

photo credit: Alan Vernon

“I never for a day gave up listening to the songs of our birds, or watching their peculiar habits…” wrote John James Audubon. Are you a bird watcher? You’re not alone. It’s the number one hobby in America. And when we flock together, bird-lovers have a strong voice in protecting birds and bird habitat.

That is why NRDC joined together with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to create WeLoveBirds.org, an interactive online community for bird enthusiasts. Check it out and you’ll find bird guides and nest cams, a place to share your bird photos and videos, and a place to take action to help save birds and bird habitat.

A current action is about protecting one of the world’s most important nesting grounds for migratory birds–the Peace-Athabasca Delta in Canada. The Delta is downstream from the world’s largest industrial project–Alberta’s tar sands oil mines.

Tar sands oil is a more recent, dirty and expensive form of petroleum extraction to fuel American cars and trucks. It is already having  devastating impacts on the delta and on migratory birds. More than one million birds, including tundra swans, snow geese and countless ducks nest in the delta. For many waterfowl, this area is their only nesting ground.

But Canada is ramping up tar sands oil extraction in the Boreal forest just south of the delta, which could contaminate and reduce water flow into the delta, kill fish and disturb habitat. And as I explain here, Big Oil wants to build a pipeline, the Keystone XL, to carry the dirtiest crude on the planet through the heartland of America on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, affecting more bird habitat along the way.

We can stop this if we all make our voices heard. Speak out in defense of one of the world’s most important nesting grounds for migratory birds. Please join in sending a message to Washington that we do not want the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The birds on your window sill thank you.