We’re getting to the end of the Gift now..
Divining The Future for Birds
Being top of the food chain, studies of birds of prey, to see whether they are flourishing or in decline, are used by ecologists to judge how well a particular ecosystem is working. On a larger scale birds as a whole can act as a barometer for health of the environment. Over the past few centuries, as mankind spreads further across the globe, the natural world has been put under increasing pressure. The dodo and little auk have been hunted to extinction; the albatross is disappearing, exotic birds are caught for the pet trade. Around the world man is having a negative effect on the bird population – here in the United Kingdom there’s been a decline in numbers of songbirds especially. World-wide, birds are under threat from pollution, the loss of habitat, the use of insecticides, and large scale shooting. If this is our effect on birdlife, what does it say about our treatment of the environment as a whole?
Now when birds such as the swift and swallow return from Africa, we, like Ted Hughes in his poem Swifts, give a sigh of relief that ‘they’ve made it again’. Not only because they’re a sign of the beginning of spring, but also because, despite all that man has done to harm the world, ‘the globes still working.’
Following the druid way, we are immersed in nature; it is part of our spirituality to care for our environment both for the health and welfare of our fellow living beings, the birds, animals and plants; but also for the benefit of the future generations, our descendants. Whilst turning to birds for guidance, and a connection to the divine. We have to recognize that we also have a responsibility to them. The good news is that positive measures do work. In the 1970s a small number of cranes returned to East Anglia to breed and decided to stay rather than migrate. Their numbers are growing slowly. I would like to think that in future, my great grand children will be able to watch great flocks of their descendents perform their crane dance, that great circular celebration of life.