CENTER FOR BIRD REHABILITATION AND PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THE UNION BAY NATURAL AREA
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Bird populations around the Puget Sound are increasingly threatened by habitat loss due to the urban development and growth of Seattle. Urban development not only destroys natural habitats, but also creates a new, lethal gauntlet that local and migratory birds have to traverse. Collisions with man-made structures (buildings, glass walls, power lines) and encounters with cats contribute significantly to bird mortality and are second only to habitat loss as the leading cause of population declines. To mitigate these threats, this thesis advocates a greater appreciation for birds as the first step in their protection. Increasing the public’s and professionals’ understanding of urban threats to birds and demonstrating interventions that can mitigate them offers the greatest hope in protecting bird populations. In addition, a proposed bird rescue center will care for birds that have been injured and attempt to rehabilitate and release them. The Union Bay Natural Area is one of three major stopover spots on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds within Seattle. It is also home to a large number of resident and summer-breeding bird species and attracts a large numbers of local birdwatchers. The thesis proposes a student-and-volunteer-run outreach center placed on the already-developed outskirts of the natural area, on University of Washington land. The center will provide public education and outreach opportunities, support environmental education to the youth, and guided birdwatching tours; additionally, it will attract volunteers to help with the rescue and rehabilitation of injured wild birds. With greater public understanding and support, the reduction and neutralization of hazards to birds, and improvements to urban avian habitats will result in healthier populations of local and migratory birds.
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