WHAT AVIAN SCIENCE AND CONSERVATION MEANS TO ME
I have been working with birds for over ten years.
During this time-span, avian conservation has taken on many different forms and meanings to me.
At 18 years old, I started volunteering with a local bird bander for their M.A.P.S. banding season (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship), partially because a friend of mine was doing it, but mostly because my mother made me after I “gave them my word.”
Little did I know, that season would spark the beginning of a life filled with a love for birds and a passion for avian conservation.
At first, being a part of bird research and conservation was “cool,” if anyone considers waking up at 3 a.m. in the summer on a Saturday morning to drive over an hour and set up mist nets in a bog as “cool.”
I was always an outdoors kid and enjoyed being in nature. While living in Northeast Pennsylvania, bird banding gave me a great opportunity to make sure I got outside every weekend to hike in some of the most beautiful habitats in the northeast.
Avian conservation was fun, for sure. Later on, when I attended East Stroudsburg University to study biology, I kept doing research with birds.
At this point, I didn’t feel like I could switch to studying anything else (although I did try to be a herpetologist one semester, then a botanist another).
I kept coming back to birds. I realized then that bird conservation isn’t just “cool,” but it’s also what I love. It’s what I do.
I continued to volunteer with the local bander and completed my undergraduate research project studying the affect of Japanese Barberry, an invasive plant species, on local avian populations.
Avian conservation was who I was. After college, I took a few seasonal bird jobs, one as a coastal bird technician for Audubon Louisiana, and another as a bander for a fall migration study in Alabama.
It was in these places where I truly learned the importance importance of avian conservation. It’s not just fun or cool, or even just “what I do.”
It’s an important aspect to our world. Preserving birds and their habitats helps preserve the world that we share with them, including our homes and the places we share and live with our loved ones. Avian conservation is important because it protects their world and ours.
Now, I live in the Panhandle working for Audubon Florida as one of their Roof-top Nesting Biologists.
I monitor a state-threatened seabird species that nest on gravel rooftops since losing much of their natural nesting habitat.
Today, I see the tragedy of avian conservation and how much conservation is needed for these birds.
Where would the birds be without conservation practices?
What would our world look like without them?
They say that when we discover nature, we discover ourselves. Avian conservation is fun, it is cool, and it is important, but it is also critical for the preservation of our natural world.
By Rebekah Snyder
Rebekah Synder is a Member, Francis M. Weston Audubon Society
and serves as Assistant Conservation Chair.
Rebekah works for Audubon Florida as a Shorebird Roof-top Breeding Biologist.