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Wake-Up Call: Saving the Songbirds cover image

Wake-Up Call: Saving the Songbirds 199?

Highly Recommended

Distributed by The Video Project, 375 Alabama, Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94110; 800-4-PLANET
Produced by Claire Blotter
Directed by Claire Blotter
VHS, color, 14 min.

K-6, Jr. High - Adult
Animal Behavior, Biology, Environmental Studies, Gardening

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College

Does it really matter if we are losing songbirds at an alarming rate? What does this say, if anything, about our environment as a whole? Biologists say that all songbird species are in decline, with 15% of all the bird species on earth being threatened by the loss of trees specifically and loss of habitat in general. They attribute this to the reduction, fragmentation and degradation of habitat. Migratory birds are losing their winter habitats, which compounds the problem. The increase of predators, such as cats, also takes its toll on bird populations. Each time a species is taken out of the ecosystem, its extinction weakens the system as a whole, and in ways that are not yet known. One certain expectation is that insect populations will explode, which can affect our food supply. Where once there were flocks of birds and other wildlife, there are now buildings and asphalt streets instead.

Scientists explain that birds serve as one of the first indicators of problems in the environment. There are programs that anyone can participate in, such as Project Feeder Watch, which can be done from your own backyard. Looking at birds from the local level is every bit as important as nationwide studies. Students from San Francisco Bay area elementary and junior high schools imitate birds calls and speak about why it’s important to have birds in our lives and how the use of pesticides poisons the food supply which in turn poisons baby birds. From the mouths of school children come such simple solutions as planting gardens with plants and flowers that are attractive to birds, and to stop cutting down trees. Teachers advise digging up invasive plants and replacing them with native vegetation; plants serve the additional purpose of providing birds with places to hide and nest. One teacher made this a project with her class and the pride and enjoyment that resulted serves as an inspiration for all of us.

The most beautiful and complex bird songs come from birds that live deep in the woods or forests; they communicate with each other to find a mate and about their territory. Song sparrows have as many as eighteen different songs. To have birds around, with their beautiful songs--as the little children say--makes it “nicer for everyone.” This video is enhanced by the voices of students, teachers, and bird experts who talk about the simple solutions, such as gardening and bells on cat collars that can be initiated by anyone to help protect the songbirds.

Beautiful camera coverage of various songbirds as they feed their young or simply sing their songs accompanies the narration. Lovely music accompanies the ending credits. The technical quality is excellent, providing clear audio and video footage. The video comes with a study guide that includes activities consistent with National Science Standard F. This video and study guide would be an excellent choice for a classroom activity or home schooling project. Highly recommended for schools from kindergarten through junior high and general public library video collections.

Awards: Second Prize Santa Cruz Environmental Fill Festival in Endangered Species Category