Birds have been flying through these skies for about 60 million years. Yet, their survival on this planet has been threatened by a number of natural and man-made disasters. A total of 1,027 species of birds are listed under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Out of these, 92 bird species are listed as endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Right, the best time to save birds was yesterday; the next best is right now.
There are an extra 274 species that are listed under the Birds of Conservation Concern. Even with the laws in place, 40 percent of the bird species in the U.S. are declining in population. The extinction of these birds is fast approaching due to a lack of habitats and man-made pollution.
Hemp has proven time and again that it truly is the most multipurpose plant you can grow on this planet. This amazing plant can also be used to help reduce the mortality rate of these birds. Every year birds die due to a number of causes, for example, oil spills in the water, air pollution, collision into high tension wires and buildings.
Understanding The Unnatural Dangers To Birds
The dangers to birds are increasing by the minute with the leading cause being windows. It sounds surprising but cats aren’t birds worst enemies, windows are. While trying to figure out a sustainable option, many other factors endanger these species as well. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Welfare had published a detailed statics on bird mortality in 2017.
The research conducted shows millions of birds dying due to collision with glass, electric lines, vehicles, communication towers, and wind turbines. While collision remains the leading cause, birds are also affected by oil spills, pesticides, deforestation, and industrial pollution. The list goes on and on but accurate figures are difficult to determine.
Hence, the study estimates figures for bird mortality by the most common and man-made dangers. They conclude that a total of 300 billion birds were lost over the course of a few decades. Habitat loss also contributes to the bird mortality rate both directly and indirectly. However, the overall impact on their population is difficult to assess.
A few of the dangers posed to birds can be reduced with the help of hemp. Below you can read a detailed understanding of how hemp can save birds. To save birds is to save the planet.
Hemp Seeds Can Be The Next Best Meal For Birds
Genuine bird feeders would vouch for sunflower seeds for its nutritional values. However, hemp seeds are a much better option for the birds. Paul J. Baicich, Carol L. Henderson and Margaret A. Barker published the book “Feeding Wild Birds in America: Culture, Commerce, and Conservation”. The book focuses on the history of industrial hemp farming and how common it was to feed wild birds hemp seeds.
One of the chapters titled “Hemp, the Devil’s Birdseed” takes you back in time when hemp was part of culture and commerce. It slowly brings you to how federal law incriminated all forms of marijuana. This made the growing and importing of hemp very difficult for years. Now, with the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp is legal to grow in the United States.
This law has paved the way for farmers to use hemp to self sustain their farmlands. The U.S. government has also given the opportunity for tribes and states to submit plans about growing hemp in their respective areas. Guidelines will soon be put into place by the U.S. Agriculture Department. The use and production guidelines will also include bird food.
Growing Hemp Vs Sunflowers For Seeds
Hemp is a weed and although weeds were considered useless, hemp is far from it. Not only does it grow easily but it also does not need pesticides. Sunflowers are heavily affected by root weevils that cause the plant to wither in severe cases.
Pesticides were found to be effective against these weevils and hence used to save the flowers. However, these same pesticides pollute the water resources causing thousands of bird fatalities.
On the other end, hemp seeds are just as nutritious as sunflower seeds without the need for pesticides. Hemp is a plant that is highly resistant to the pests known for destroying most types of crops.
During the second world war in 1942, the U.S. government promoted hemp as a necessary crop to win the war. Founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson stood by hemp as a good resource for fiber.
France is in the middle of a massive decline in the bird population due to pesticides. In 2018, The Guardian pointed out that in the last 30 years the bird population dropped more than 400 million. It is not that the birds are directly consuming the pesticides but the insects are disappearing. This trend was seen across Europe with an 80% decline in flying insects.
The predominant use of pesticides over the decades has caused the insects to die, depleting the birds’ food.
Hemp Oil: Giving Back A Cleaner Environment To The Birds
Oil spills in massive water bodies greatly affect the water birds. National Geographic estimated a total of 500,000 water birds are killed due to oil spills each year.
The oil sticks to these birds’ feathers. The birds’ feathers provide waterproof protection but the oil causes them to lose that ability. This results in most birds losing feathers; while some birds attempt to clean the oil, ingest it and die of poisoning.
Hemp oil is already being considered as a more sustainable and eco-friendly source compared to petroleum. Until hemp seed oil becomes mainstream, oil spills continue to terrorize birds. Industrial hemp is yet again the answer, as it is a natural absorbent.
Hemp core can soak up more times its weight and still maintain flotation. It can be used to soak up an oil spill and then can also be dried and reused as fuel.
In the case of land oil spills, the soil gets contaminated and growing any plant will result in failure. However, growing hemp in the soil that is affected will convert the contaminants into harmless substances.
The attribute of absorption by the hemp plant is incredibly valuable and can be used to start saving birds immediately from oil spills.
Skeptics are wary of some of the claims made by hemp supporters. They say that more studies and experiments in controlled situations must be carried out before a final conclusion on hemp’s potential. However, there is no denying that the hemp plant has a number of advantages; one being the preservation of the natural environment and nurturing our avian population.
Cross-pollination is one of the many benefits we gain from the existence of birds. Insects and worms destroy a number of crops and by feeding on these creatures, birds protect and save the crops.
Birds ensure balance in nature and their population decline is directly proportional to the destruction of biodiversity in the area. As long as the environment remains healthy, the bird population will thrive and hemp can potentially help see this through.
Birds are the greatest givers in our environment; hence we must take it as a responsibility to do all in our power to save them. The above article shows the different ways hemp can save birds from dying. Now that industrial hemp has been legalized in the U.S., it shouldn’t be difficult to make its usage rife.