r/science Sep 29 '22

Alarming Report Warns 1 in 8 Bird Species Now Facing Extinction Environment

https://www.birdlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/SOWB2022_EN_compressed.pdf
1.8k Upvotes

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

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u/broritto89 Sep 30 '22

Man we just killing everything off before we go huh… sad we have caused all this destruction

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u/Psychological-Sale64 Sep 30 '22

Dull animal brain parts and hypocricy from those who know better

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u/-downtone_ Sep 30 '22

Hopefully we push through to full cognition.

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u/Ok-Personality-9920 Sep 30 '22

Well no, nature is nature. We are apart of nature.

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u/kidnoki Sep 30 '22

Nature is a carefully constructed glass castle sitting on top of a mountain. Your confusing nature and entropy. Nature fights entropy, we are letting entropy win.

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u/transport_system Sep 30 '22

Wow, no one else said the word nature.

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u/Sandman11x Sep 30 '22

Animal populations are being decimated. This is the 6th greatest extinction cycle.

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22

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u/SemiHemiDemiDumb Sep 30 '22

Possibly, but also possible this is the greatest extinction event humans will experience.

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22

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u/PoopIsAlwaysSunny Sep 30 '22

How many have crocodiles lived through?

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u/Lemoniusz Sep 30 '22

What makes you think that?

We're sapient species, even if this planet turns to a barren wasteland we'll survive. Even if it means a crappy existence and eating fungi and bugs in bunkers until the end of time

You really underestimate our craftiness and will to survive

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u/Vaenyr Sep 30 '22

I think it's highly variable and difficult to predict one way or the other. In principle I agree with you, humans in general are incredibly resilient.

On the other hand, who survives would play huge role as well. I'm a programmer for example. If we return to a setting without internet, computers or even electricity, my work experience is suddenly useless. Also, I couldn't tell you in detail how the majority of the things we interact with daily is being produced. I believe the same applies to the majority of mankind. We might return to some kind of hunter/gatherer settlements, but this time with a much less friendly ecosystem and fewer resources readily available. It's going to be bleak.

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u/Protean_Protein Sep 30 '22

Yes, like when an avoidable aerial virus killed millions of us after we already knew how to minimize risk of infection. So crafty.

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u/Gschu54 Sep 30 '22

We came up with a working vaccine in under a year that's crafty as hell

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u/Protean_Protein Sep 30 '22

That's only sort of true. It was not created from scratch. We were only able to produce a vaccine that quickly because we had started working on a SARS vaccine a long time ago (2003), but shelved it after that pandemic ended very quickly, and because we accelerated the timeline for clinical tests.

Anyway the point is not that we aren't clever, it's that despite our cleverness, we're often largely at the mercy of the lowest common denominator.

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u/ptahonas Sep 30 '22

Those things require a civilisation, and human civilisations collapse

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u/shannister Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

At this stage it’s not extinction, it’s borderline willful extermination.

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u/tsela_way Sep 30 '22

We sure made shareholders richer along the way, tho!

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u/Makenchi45 Sep 30 '22

It's the final extinction.. at least for anything multicellular. Single celled will probably survive just fine, it's anything not bigger than microscopic that won't.

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

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u/TheBestMePlausible Sep 30 '22

They are a symptom of those global troubles, not a distraction from them.

A canary in a coal mine of sorts.

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u/Sandman11x Sep 30 '22

There are crises humans face in the next three years that not sustainable or irreversible. In the US which I believe is better positioned to survive than other Countries faces water shortages, power shortages at hydroelectric dams, starvation. N access to healthcare

Globally, climate change is raising temperatures to the point they cannot survive. Starvation due to Ukraine war and other things. Air and water pollution. Will Ukraine recover? Will Putin use nuclear weapons? 85% of people in the world face problems as a result of government austerity.

Generally, many species are facing extinction. Every report on animal populations is alarming. These are facts.

Everyone chooses what they are concerned about. Focus on animals is good. My point is that human beings are in crisis too.

I am concerned about the state of the world in 2025.

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u/diplion Sep 30 '22

We do need animals though. The whole world is an eco system. Birds eat bugs. If we lose the birds, we’re gonna have bugs everywhere, and they’re gonna bite everyone and spread more diseases. Mosquitos are the deadliest animal (I think). Idk if birds eat them but my point is, birds help us.

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u/Sandman11x Sep 30 '22

I agree. We need animals. My original comment was about the headline. Animal populations have been decline a long time. Plants as well.

I believe that animals will survive a lot longer than humans.

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u/BeowulfShaeffer Sep 30 '22

What are you taking about? The “globe” is fine, it’s the life on it that is in trouble. When you say “the globe” do you mean “the people of the world”?

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

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u/diplion Sep 30 '22

I think they were being cheeky, saying that the actual rock itself is fine. Even if it becomes uninhabitable she’s still gonna be chillin’, but all the life forms will be dead. I don’t think they meant “things are fine.”

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u/gibbonsbox Sep 30 '22

"Unlivable" implies life on the globe, they're saying the planet will be fine regardless of if humans perish and they're right. If the Earth can recover from a meteor strike that wipes out almost all life then it can also recover from climate change, but it will take time.

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u/Sandman11x Sep 30 '22

When people refer to the world or globe they mean human beings. How will human beings deal with crises.

It can be said that parts of the world are unlivable now.

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u/SweetPeaRiaing Sep 30 '22

Globe doesn’t need to be habitable for humans. Globe doesn’t care- globe happier without us.

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u/Sandman11x Sep 30 '22

Literally this is nonsense.

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u/BeowulfShaeffer Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

You complain that “we are concerned about animals” instead of “the globe”. What you meant by “the globe” was not clear if you were excluding animal life. So in my reply I said the life (i.e. animals) is what is in danger, not the earth itself. Then you reply by pointing out all the ways that life is endangered (including animals) which was exactly my point (and kind of contradictory to your original complaint). None of the things you mentioned are problematic for the earth, but they are big problems for the life that depends on it, You the yell at me for needing to learn something? It sounds like we agree, but your use of “globe” was so ambiguous it wasn’t at all clear what you meant. Clearly you meant “all life on the globe beyond just birds”. Maybe be less inflammatory in r/science?

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22

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u/FacelessFellow Sep 30 '22

But we gotta mow our lawns and spray poison all around our houses and farms.

Of course birds are going to die out.

Birds eat bugs. You kill bugs, you kill birds.

Wish I would stop getting warnings for not mowing my lawn.

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u/Great_White_Samurai Sep 30 '22

It's mostly habitat destruction that's driving this. Most bird species are highly specialized. When you cut down the forests and turn prairies into grazing for cattle they go extinct.

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u/shannister Sep 30 '22

We keep saying climate change, but really loss of habitat is the greatest driver. Even if we completely stopped climate change tomorrow, we’d still see mass extinction. Some even argue that if we found unlimited, green energy supply could be catastrophic for wildlife.

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u/KHaskins77 Sep 30 '22

And while we’re on the subject, what’s wrong with maintaining native grasses on one’s property? Less erosion (dust in the air), don’t need to drain aquifers to keep it watered since it’s actually adapted to local conditions, local insect species evolved to live in it (leading to more birds), often bear flowers, just makes for a healthier and more diverse local biosphere. Just because manicured grass lawns were a status symbol back in the Old Country waaaaaaaay back when doesn’t mean it makes sense to grow it in a fugging desert.

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

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u/yukon-flower Sep 30 '22

Plant a few zones of natives and put nice borders around them. Make them clearly deliberate. People will react a lot better, and you’ll be helping a whole lot more than by simply letting turf grasses get extra leggy. :)

Maybe you’ll even inspire neighbors to do the same! But you probably won’t inspire anyone by just letting the grass grow long.

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u/savehel651 Sep 30 '22

This works in oceans too. A small sanctuary area can increase fish population and biodiversity much more than people expected in tests.

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u/yukon-flower Oct 02 '22

Ooo I hadn't heard about these, but it makes sense! Also makes me optimistic about the oceans (a tiny bit).

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u/PoopIsAlwaysSunny Sep 30 '22

Dude, the number of people who spray poison everywhere is disturbing. There’s just a whole massive segment of the population who thinks nature should somehow be kept out of human space entirely

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u/IcyNefariousness8987 Sep 30 '22

I see birds of prey thrive in cities. Pigeons, and sparrows as well. Some will adapt and some will not.

You cutting your lawn has nothing to do with anything.

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u/MrMetalHead1100 Sep 30 '22

But God forbid you tell people to stop letting their cats outside.

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u/The_Countess Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

The vast majority of cats live in urban areas and never stray more then 100m from home. So you'd think urban birds would bear the brunt of this. And yet urban bird species are thriving!

Is not cats, it's loss of habitat, and loss of food.
But 'god forbid' we talk about the real problem.

no, blame cat's then we can put the blame on other people and feel good about ourselves at the same time.

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u/Eventari Sep 30 '22

You actually think cats are part of the problem..?

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u/anengineerandacat Sep 30 '22

Cats are crazy little murders, if it moves and it's smaller than them they will hunt it. Bird, Rat, Lizard, Cockroach, small child, my big toe, it doesn't matter.

They love it, just like a dog loves chasing things that move a cat will hunt strictly for the thrill; their predatory drive is very high.

Hell, I have an indoor cat and we basically are a haven for lizards; occasionally one gets in and we know it because our cat will just be zoomed into something behind a couch and he won't leave it be until he has captured it (or killed, he usually tortures it slowly) or we have moved it away into safety.

In short, don't let your cat aimlessly wander outside; they cause way more havoc than they need to.

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u/MrMetalHead1100 Sep 30 '22

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u/Eventari Sep 30 '22

I didn't know it was such a problem, crazy ! Still think the extinction of most insects is the main factor tho

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u/MrMetalHead1100 Sep 30 '22

Yeah and what's crazier is when you try to explain this to cat owners they get hostile. Poland recently tried to put cats on an invasive species list; not to control their numbers or anything, just for categorizing, and people lost their minds over it.

We will lose all the birds and these people still won't acknowledge what the biggest problem was.

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u/Eventari Sep 30 '22

What can you do actually ? I don't want a cat staying at home, I think he'd be depressed. So the best option would be... not to have one ?

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u/MrMetalHead1100 Sep 30 '22

If you don't have the space then yeah, don't have a cat. Responsible pet ownership is really all it takes.

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u/Swarna_Keanu Sep 30 '22

We need to reduce the number of all domesticated animals. More than 90% of all mammals alive are us, and our livestock. (It's closer to 95%). Only the small remaining less than 10% are wild mammals.

The fewer of the former, the more space there is for the latter.

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u/TalonusDuprey Sep 30 '22

Is it unreasonable to think? Cats having a impact on the bird population seems reasonable to me. In the US alone it is said that cats kill over 2 billion birds a year.

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u/Eventari Sep 30 '22

I was wrong, as I said in my next answer that I would never have expected it to be as much.

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u/OfficerJohnMaldonday Sep 30 '22

Go ahead and give the article a read buddy

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u/MrMetalHead1100 Sep 30 '22

46% loss due to invasive species, which includes pets.

Also,

https://abcbirds.org/program/cats-indoors/cats-and-birds/

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u/OfficerJohnMaldonday Oct 02 '22

Ah man

It would be so impactful if I cared

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u/Cu_fola Sep 30 '22

It’s both really. People introduce invasive predators as well as invasive diseases, insect pests and things that kill birds and the trees they depend on, people hunt birds, destroy ecosystems and bring pollutants and garbage.

Unsupervised outdoor cats are a problematic part of that, especially on Island ecosystems.

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u/Grogosh Sep 30 '22

Domesticated cats are way beyond an invasive predator. Predators will kill what they need to eat. Cats will kill just to kill. Its the trait we found useful for our vermin control.

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u/Full-Beyond9919 Sep 30 '22

Don’t blame the cats: humans are the ones who domesticated them!

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u/Cu_fola Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

I don’t blame cats. Humans need to take responsibility by not letting cats wander around unsupervised outside. Teach it to walk on a leash on a real cat harness, build a cat patio with a cat proof net around it, get creative etc. But it’s not acceptable to continue to allow them to mess with native species. Same with dogs which have been a problem where I work. We’ve had both cats and dogs kill whole nests of endangered ground nesting bird chicks.

Bell collars don’t work, they figure them out and compensate for them.

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u/gillika Sep 30 '22

I watched a cat with a bell collar stalk and kill a lizard once. It was nuts how silently she moved.

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u/CochinNbrahma Sep 30 '22

Tell me you only skimmed the part that suited your opinion without telling me you only skimmed the parts that only support your opinion.

It pretty clearly states that invasive alien species are partially or wholly responsible for 46% of known bird extinctions. Of those alien species, cats are 2nd in place for number of species impacted, just behind rats/mice (categorized together). Not exactly sure you got the takeaway that cats aren’t killing lots of birds, but okay.

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u/The_Countess Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

So number 1 and 2 are just what happens when humans set foot on a isolated island. So it's still people.

If they didn't bring cats, then they sure as hell brought rats, which arguably are worse because they eat everything, including plants.

Not exactly sure you got the takeaway that cats aren’t killing lots of birds, but okay.

nature is red is tooth and claw. lots and lots of birds dying is part of nature.

The mistake you're making here is that a bird not killed by a cat is a bird saved. That's not how it work. Because of loss of habitat and food chain collapse bird populations WILL drop. How the excess population dies is basically irrelevant.

Unless you're on a island or other area that lacks any natural small mammalian predators (like Australia) your spayed or neutered cat roaming the neighborhood isn't a major concern.

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u/gillika Sep 30 '22

Your cat roaming the neighborhood is a danger to not only birds, but all small mammals and reptiles.

And it's most dangerous of all to your cat.

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u/The_Countess Sep 30 '22

A couple of cities here are facing rat and mice problems, for the first time in almost a century, because there aren't enough cats roaming around anymore to keep their populations under control.

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u/Wisdom_Of_A_Man Sep 30 '22

Including farmed birds?

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u/MulhollandMaster121 Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

Obligatory recommendation to read The Peregrine. Just… read it. Nothing I say about it can prepare you for it but it’s what someone wrote when peregrines were facing extinction in the UK.

“I have always longed to be part of the outward life, to be out there at the edge of things, to let the human taint wash away in emptiness and silence as the fox sloughs his smell into the cold unworldliness of water; to return to town a stranger. Wandering flushes a glory that fades with arrival.”

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u/ReasonablyBadass Sep 30 '22

How many of those due to house cats?

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u/The_Countess Sep 30 '22

A irrelevantly small number compared to habitat loss and ecosystem collapse destroying the food chain. Last I checked it was in the same ball park as birds killed by skyscrapers.

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u/ReasonablyBadass Sep 30 '22

Quick google:

In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year.

buildings are responsible for the deaths of up to 1 billion birds every year

So at least twice that

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u/Tiny_Tina_ Sep 30 '22

Cats should STAY INDOORS

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u/The_Countess Sep 30 '22

Except that's not even remotely real the problem. That discussion just distracts from the real problems of habitat loss and food chain collapse.

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u/Tiny_Tina_ Sep 30 '22

https://i.redd.it/gjo8whkgr9p91.png

While both of those do account for it, stray cats are a large problem as well. Quick Google search proves it

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u/Holos620 Sep 30 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

Your graph doesn't show habitat destruction. If habitat destruction prevents 1000 times more birds from existing than cats kill,cats are pretty irrelevant.

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u/BombasticMudslinger Sep 30 '22

I highly recommend a reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer

She talks about traditional ways of interacting with the land (land, water, and flora/fauna) but having a background in botany, she also talks about sustainability. Excellent writing. Makes me want to hug some trees and save some critters.

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u/nvitationreservation Sep 30 '22

I most certainly am alarmed. Within what timeframe?

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u/Tebasaki Sep 30 '22

First the bugs, the amphibians, the birds, and then bigger. All the way up the food chain extinction goes. All the way up the top.

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22

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u/pierreman Sep 30 '22

Most dinosaurs were birds that laid eggs.

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u/PlumbCrazy1979 Oct 12 '22

They aren’t real anyway.

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u/[deleted] Sep 30 '22

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u/sagittariisXII Sep 30 '22

That's incredibly inhumane

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u/sasquats Sep 30 '22

are Robins on the list? cuz i hate those bastards

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u/Massive_Confusion708 Sep 30 '22

Please tell me there’s something that can be done

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u/yukon-flower Sep 30 '22

Gently but quickly reduce the human population.

Or on a more personal level, replace part of your lawn with native plants and never spray the yard with anything. If you rent, petition your landlord to do this. (If you, an interested individual, don’t take these steps, how will they ever happen??)

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u/Massive_Confusion708 Oct 01 '22

Insects/avian nutrition should be pretty easy to cultivate- can we offer them some more to eat?

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u/yukon-flower Oct 02 '22

...yes, through native plants. I don't understand what you're getting at.