There can be no greater sign of conservation success than the removal of a species from Vermont’s endangered and threatened species list. In 2005, Vermont celebrated the return of three of its iconic birds: once again Peregrine Falcons soared from cliffs, Common Loons wailed on lakes, and Ospreys fished shorelines. The recovery of these species was a testimony to the dedication of biologists, conservationists, and concerned citizens throughout the state. But the job is far from done. Much work remains if all of Vermont’s birdlife is to be conserved for generations to come.
Conservation of Vermont birdlife only begins in the Green Mountain State. More than 80 percent of Vermont’s forests are privately owned, so conservation of our birds will take the involvement of our neighbors. With urbanization in Vermont increasing by 20 percent since 1960, it will take local planning. With atmospheric pollutants such as mercury drifting and falling on Vermont and affecting birds, it will take action from the whole country. With tropical forests rapidly disappearing, and with them the wintering habitat of many of Vermont’s songbirds, it will take many other countries. With climate change projected to drastically shift and rearrange Vermont ecosystems, it will take the world. To conserve birdlife in Vermont for generations to come, it will take the engagement and cooperation of many. Vermont is a small state, but it can be the catalyst for much bigger change.