Vancouver Avian Research Centre

.....Research - Conservation - Education

Think of an apple as the Earth. If you cut out a quarter section and put away the rest, you are reminded that 75% of the Earth is underwater and uninhabitable by humans. If you take the 25% representing terra firma and cut it into thirds, you are reminded that 33% of that land is high mountains with low oxygen and another 33% is desert--two habitats that are likewise inhospitable. Most of the final third of unsubmerged Earth is actually subterranean, forcing us to live on the planet's crust - symbolized by the skin covering a mere one-twelfth of an apple. And what do we do with that crust? We devour it, of course, with little regard for what the consequences will be.

Conserve – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Save energy – switch off lights

This is not only important during migration to help birds attracted to lights shining from skyscrapers, broadcast towers, lighthouses, monuments and other tall structures but a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions we produce is from energy to heat and light our homes, and power household appliances.

  • Conserve water

A gallon of water weights 8 pounds and the average North American uses 100 gallons each day – imagine how much you would use if you had to carry the water you use each day.

Be a Conscientious Consumer

  • Buy recycled products

The makers of many household products, use millions cubic meters of trees from Canada’s boreal forest every year to produce their products. Other companies also use pulp from the boreal forests, logging altogether some half a million acres of boreal forest every year. Many of these products contain no recycled wood pulp, in contrast with others which use mainly recycled fiber. Always choose the recycled product option.

  • Drink shade-grown coffee

Coffee drinkers can help make a difference for migratory songbirds on their wintering grounds. Traditionally, coffee farmers grew their crops beneath the shady canopy of forest trees. In Mexico, more than 150 bird species inhabit shade-grown coffee plantations. Throughout Central America, the Caribbean islands, and Columbia – regions important for migratory birds – there are more than 6.7 million acres of shade-grown coffee plantations that provide relatively good wintering habitats. However, many farmers are now growing new coffee varieties that yield greater harvest under full sun. In Columbia and Mexico, sun coffee plantations support 94 to 97 percent fewer bird species than shade-grown coffee farms. Although shade-grown coffee is often more expensive because it is more difficult to produce – buying a cup of “bird-friendly” coffee pays off in at least two ways – by making it possible for farmers to grow their crops beneath trees inhabited by birds, and by making a better-tasting brew, the result of slowly ripened beans.

Information on shade grown coffee is available through the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

The Earth's water:

  • 97% lies in oceans - salt-laden and undrinkable
  • 3% freshwater - 68.7% in icecaps and glaciers (for now!)
  • 30.1% is groundwater in deep aquifers
  • 0.9% is in surface soil and clouds
  • 0.3% is surface water in rivers, streams, lakes & ponds where it can be accessed by humans and wildlife

We really MUST do a better job of conserving the Earth’s crust for the sake of humans and wildlife alike. Do your part because every little bit DOES help!


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