Save that bird!

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. They strive to encourage an Americas-wide landscape where diverse interests collaborate to ensure that native bird species and their habitats are protected, and where their protection is valued by society. It is the only U.S.-based group with a major focus on bird habitat conservation throughout the entire continents of North and South America. The organization addresses the full spectrum of threats to birds to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, thereby unifying and strengthening the bird conservation movement.

Each week, ABC spotlights one American bird, usually one that is threatened or endangered, and designates it as the "Bird of the Week." It sends out email newsletters with a picture of and information about the bird and describes the "threat status" of the bird. Thus, we get to learn more about the most endangered birds on the two continents, birds that we may never actually see in real life but that we might be able to help in concert with the American Bird Conservancy.

When I opened my email today, I had to smile to see who had been designated this week's Bird of the Week - the most endangered bird of all.

Bird of the Week
Big Bird

Big Bird is an eight-foot two-inch-tall bright yellow bird. He can roller skate, ice skate, dance, sing, write poetry, draw, and even ride a unicycle. He lives in a large nest at 123 Sesame Street, and has a teddy bear named Radar. His lovable, innocent, and curious personality has helped endear him to millions of children and adults all over the world.

Big Bird is a flightless bird, of indeterminate species and genus, describing himself at different times as a “Golden Condor”, a lark, or a canary. Regardless of his species, he is a unique and talented creature who has helped educate generations of children, appeared on countless television shows and movies, and even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Big Bird’s conservation status is perilous. He is likely the last of his species, with no female having been found so far. He is now nearly 43 years old, but it is not known if this is past breeding age, should a mate ever turn up. However, he continues to travel around the world and has been sighted in 140 countries so far, making him perhaps the most migratory bird in history.

Big Bird’s popularity is just another example of the positive impact of birds on society and culture.


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