xml:space="preserve">

Here's one issue that seems to draw bipartisan support, even in an election year - saving disappearing songbirds.

A small but bipartisan band of senators, led by Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin, have introduced a bill to boost federal funding to study neotropical migratory birds and protect their habitat.  Maryland Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, a Republican (and lame duck, pardon the expression), has joined with members of both parties in the House to push a similar bill.

Advertisement

About 127 species of migratory birds have been declining for some time, according to the American Bird Conservancy.  Sixty species have shrunk by more than 45 percent over the last 40 years.  Some, like the Cerulean Warbler (pictured above) and Olive-sided Flycatcher, are down by up to 70 percent since the 1960s, the group says.

Cardin said the issue should be of special concern to Marylanders, according to a news release from the bird conservancy.  "Maryland's natural treasure, our environment, is a lure for millions of human tourists and avian visitors each year,'' he said, and federal funding has been vital to helping the birds - and, by extension, the economy.

Cardin's bill would increase the authorized funding for bird conservation projects from $6 million a year to $20 million by 2015.  That may seem to some like, well, chicken feed, but the federal funds would be matched with money from other sources to finance more projects.

(Photo by Barth Schorre, courtesy American Bird Conservancy)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement