On forming an Ornithological Council

The Auk



It has begun to bother me that the ornithological societies seem to be playing an extremely minor role in anything to do with conserving, preserving, or salvaging the environment. We realize-or we tell each other that we do-that birds are an important part of the world's ecosystems, that they can often serve as indicator species of environmental problems, that what affects bird populations can and will eventually affect the human population. But as organizations, we lack a mechanism to tell anyone other than ourselves about our concerns or how the knowledge our study produces can be used to help efforts to protect either the birds themselves or the environment of which they and we are parts. We can, and some do, share our concerns and knowledge individually, but we have no effective way to say that 5,000 ornithologists think that "Plan A is a good idea" or "Plan B could lead to declines in bird populations" or even that "Plan C would have a very bad (or good) effect on the scientific study of birds that is needed to know whether Plans A and B are good." Our current mechanism for action is pretty much restricted to adopting resolutions saying, in effect, "We think you shouldn't have done that" or "We wish you would do something." Even the timing of this mechanism leaves much to be desired if we really intend to have any effect.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title On forming an Ornithological Council
Series title The Auk
Volume 108
Issue 1
Year Published 1991
Language English
Publisher American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 3 p.
First page 208
Last page 210
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