Nearly 30 years ago, Antonin Scalia was approved by the Senate in a unanimous vote. Analysts are projecting a much tougher road for the next nominee. We look at four potential nominees: California Attorney General Kamala Harris, DC Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford and Eighth Circuit Judge Jane Kelly.
Here’s the transcript of the interview:
Juan Gonzalez: And, Scott Horton, what about this issue of the—what happens from here on in and also the choices that President Obama has? Does he name a more moderate justice and then really make it difficult for the Republicans to continue to block a nomination or does he attempt to go to a more liberal justice and really sharpen, in the upcoming election, the choices that voters have when they’re electing a president?
Scott Horton: Well, you know, to me, the political elements here have never been sharper for the Supreme Court. So I think we’re going to see this whole issue of the Supreme Court front and center in the election campaign for the new president. It’s always there in the final rounds of the election; we usually have candidate saying, "Who is selected now as president will determine the makeup of the Supreme Court." And now we’re in the position where that literally is going to be true. So it will be central.
As for Obama’s options, it seems to me he’s going to be—he’s going to play a tactical game at this point, knowing what the position is of the Republican majority and their leader. And it seems to me the Republicans have put themselves in a position in which they’re going to be subject to ridicule based on their own conduct. I think it’s likely that Obama will put forward a nomination of a moderate with outstanding credentials and probably someone who has recently been approved by the same Republican Senate by a strong vote and watch them cope with that, because I think if their—if their tactic is simply to block, that’s not going to help them in the presidential election.
Juan Gonzalez:: And what would be some of those—who would be some of those potential folks that he might name?
Scott Horton: Well, Sri Srinivasan, I think, is the most commonly cited figure right now, but I think we’ve got a group, principally, of court of appeals judges who were approved over his two terms as president, who have gotten substantial support, including support from Republicans. There are a half-dozen of them in the holding pen right now. Any of them may be put forward. But I doubt it’s going to be the left equivalent of a Nino Scalia. It’s going to be someone who is more of a moderate, more of a centrist, someone who in normal times would be able to count on Republican support.
Amy Goodman: Ian Millhiser, can you talk more about Sri Srinivasan, who he is and his significance?
Ian Millhiser: Sure. I mean, Sri is—I’ve seen him argue cases before. He’s one of the most brilliant litigators of his generation, truly breathtaking intellect. He also, though, clerked for two Republican judges—for a Republican court of appeals judge and then for Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. He spent many years of his careers at a major corporate law firm. So he’s very much perceived as a sort of middle-of-the-road moderate, the sort of candidate a Democrat would put up if they wanted to extend an olive branch and say, "Look, like, I’m going to meet you halfway here by picking someone who wouldn’t necessarily be a Democrat’s first choice, but someone who everyone agrees is an extraordinary intellect," someone who was confirmed 97 to zero the first—when he was confirmed to his current job on the second-highest court on the land. And so I think Sri is going to be attractive to the White House.
There’s a—you know, there are some other candidates—Paul Watford on the Ninth Circuit—
Amy Goodman: Just on Sri Srinivasan, he would be the first Indian American. He’s young, he’s 48 years old.
Ian Millhiser: Yeah.
Amy Goodman: Labor unions were not thrilled when he went up to this court, not feeling that his history of representing corporate clients would bode well for them.
Ian Millhiser: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, what you’re looking at with Sri—and, you know, again, the fact that he had certain kinds of clients as a lawyer doesn’t necessarily predict how he’s going to act as a judge or a justice. But everything we know about him now tells us brilliance and centrism.
Amy Goodman: Can you talk about Paul Watford?
Ian Millhiser: Sure. Judge Watford is a judge on the Ninth Circuit. He has a similar resume to Sri. He worked at a corporate law firm for many years. Unlike Sri, Judge Watford is—was a clerk for Justice Ginsburg. So he has a similar profile of someone who’s been at the top of the profession since the beginning of his career, a great intellect, someone who shouldn’t be perceived as a bomb thrower and should be perceived as more of an olive branch, because he spent most of his career not doing anything that’s really associated with liberalism, just, you know, going out there and making money as a lawyer. So, you know, if it’s Watford, if it’s Srinivasan, if it’s either of those judges, under normal circumstances, that would be an olive branch to the Republicans.
Amy Goodman: And, Linda Hirshman, can you talk about Kamala Harris, attorney general of California, running for Senate—
Linda Hirshman: Right.
Amy Goodman: —to fill Barbara Boxer’s seat?
Linda Hirshman: Right. She would be my selection, if she’s—you know, if she passes the vetting process, because I would just love to see the next several months occupied with a bunch of old white male Republicans pounding on the first Asian-American, African-American attorney—female attorney general of the state of California.
But I think that it’s mostly about the optics. As I listen to my colleagues just now discussing the pros and cons of the olive branch possibilities and so forth, I think that none of this really matters at all, because the Republicans, as far as I’ve been able to observe, do not care about the universe of perfect logic. And the fact that Srinivasan was confirmed 97 to nothing just recently is an argument which reasonable people would make, but I don’t think it matters. I think that this is about power and optics. And if you are going to be realistic about what’s going to happen, then you have to think about who would make the most optically advantageous appointment. And I think Kamala Harris would be very high on my list of people who would do that.
Juan Gonzalez:: Another—
Linda Hirshman: That being said—
Juan Gonzalez:: I’m sorry. Another person who’s been mentioned is Jane Kelly from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Could you talk about her?
Linda Hirshman: I would be—I would be inclined more in the direction of an African-American woman like Kamala Harris. I don’t—I don’t think that it’s about the woman thing right now.
Amy Goodman: Because?
Linda Hirshman: Because I think that getting African Americans to go to the polls in sufficient numbers to elect a Democrat president of the United States is the critical political issue right now. Obama’s numbers from 2008 to 2012 went down among Hispanics and whites. And only a robust African-American vote was effective in 2012. So I’m thinking politically about this. The Republicans are looking at their red states. Arizona, for example, where I live in the winter, will be in the very liberal Ninth Circuit. They’re looking at their constituents living under the governance of very liberal blue circuits. And they are looking at a—I want them to look at the most attractive, politically attractive, possible nominee.
Juan Gonzalez:: I wanted to ask Scott Horton, with the current split in the court—we’ve got all these big cases coming up this term, have to be decided by June—what is your sense of what the fallout will be on some of these cases, if any, that the court may go ahead with?
Scott Horton: Well, I think labor unions can breathe a huge sigh of relief right now, because they were probably looking at a really powerful adverse ruling on the union dues issue coming in one major case. And one fundamental rule here is, it doesn’t matter how the justices voted in conference or the discussions that went on; the vote that’s taken has got to be the vote as it existed at the time the ruling is handed down. So, nothing that’s happened up to this point matters. We’re dealing with an eight-member court on all of these rulings.
But I think, coming back to what was—what Ian said at the beginning, we’re looking at a court that is likely simply to uphold the rulings below. So, in cases where—as in the immigration rights case and the voting rights cases coming out of Texas, where there is a conservative ruling from a conservative court of appeals, that’s likely to be sustained still, I think and where it was a more progressive ruling, that will be upheld.
Amy Goodman: Ian Millhiser, before we go to break, if you could talk about what Justice Scalia is known for, whether we’re talking about his support for gun rights, his opposition to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights, whether we’re talking about abortion, talk about his history, this history of—
Ian Millhiser: Sure.
Amy Goodman: —a man who was appointed by Ronald Reagan.
Ian Millhiser: Sure. I mean, I think that Justice Scalia is a very tragic figure. I mean, if you read a lot of his scholarship, he would articulate a theory of judicial restraint that I think is admirable, this notion that we should be cautious about courts getting too involved in our lives and that we are a democracy and democracy should rule. As a scholar, I think he made very interesting arguments. But as a judge, he often lacked the character or the self-control to live up to the arguments he made as a scholar.
So, you know, the two most—the two most striking examples of this are the two Obamacare cases, where in the first one he wrote a—or he joined a vicious dissent to his own opinion in another case called Raich and then, in the second one, he attacked his own theory of judicial—of statutory interpretation that he laid out in a 2012 book. So, he was a great scholar. I think—I wish that he’d been able to live up to his own ideals. But unfortunately, all too often, I think he let ideology and partisanship get in the way of some of the more idealistic notions that he articulated as a scholar.
Juan Gonzalez:: And, Scott, I’d like to ask you about the irony of Scalia being a proponent of originalism, of faithfulness to the letter of the Constitution and yet now the Republican majority saying, well, the president should not really exercise the powers that the Constitution gives him to name the next Supreme Court justice.
Scott Horton: Well, I think it is highly ironic. I mean, you know, this was a politically driven conservatism. And I think Scalia’s conservatism is unlike what we’ve seen through most of American history. He’s sort of a southern European throne-and-altar type of conservative and not the sort of more progressive conservative that embraces some liberal values we’ve seen through most of American history. And he came up with a formula that would sustain that, which was to try and freeze the country in time constitutionally at 1789, which was a framework that gave him more ballast for his arguments, but certainly didn’t help him win every case.
But I think, you know, his zeal—he undermined himself with his own zeal over and over again, you know, especially in the last few years. He would attack the majority on case after case, saying X, Y, Z is consequence of their opinion and you’ll see—and, of course, that comment was then used by district courts to sustain a more radical interpretation of the majority’s opinion and that hastened things along, like marriage equality.
Amy Goodman: We’re going to break, then come back to this discussion. I want to thank Ian Millhiser for joining us, editor of ThinkProgress Justice, author of Injustices. Linda Hirshman is staying with us, author of Sisters in Law, a very interesting book about Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg; the subtitle, How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World. And we’re joined by Scott Horton, human rights attorney and lecturer at Columbia Law School. Kimberlé Crenshaw will now be joining us, as well, from UCLA in California. This is Democracy Now! We’re talking about the death of Justice Scalia and what happens next. Stay with us.
Amy Goodman: With Saturday’s death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the most important conservative voice on the court in decades, the nation may be heading into a constitutional crisis, Senate Republicans vowing to block President Obama from filling Justice Scalia’s seat. We’re joined by three guests. Linda Hirshman is still with us from Phoenix, Arizona, lawyer and historian, author of Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World. We’re joined here in New York by Scott Horton, human rights attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, a lecturer at Columbia Law School. In a moment, we’ll be joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University. We’re going to turn, though, to Scott Horton.
Juan Gonzalez:: Scott, I wanted to ask you about Scalia’s last decision, which was on a clean power case last Tuesday. He was the decisive vote on that, as well. Could you talk about that?
Scott Horton: Well, I think it’s clear right now that that injunction that was issued by the Supreme Court would not have been—wouldn’t be issued today. His vote was essential to get it over the hump. And that was a radical move. There is really no precedent for the Supreme Court issuing an injunction staying pending argument in the Supreme Court regulations of general applicability of this sort.
Amy Goodman: But just to be clear, this was—struck down regulations of coal-powered plants, which was really the centerpiece of what—on the U.S. position at the UN climate summit in Paris.
Scott Horton: Precisely. And, in fact, I think this decision got more attention overseas than it got in the United States, because we saw a number of European nations focused on the fact that it looked like the Supreme Court was going to block United States’ implementation of the Paris Accords, because these regulations were right at the core of it. And now there clearly is not the majority within the Supreme Court in support of that injunction. But we’re going to have to see—either there will have to be a motion for rehearing of the matter by the solicitor general or we’ll have to await the final decision. But it’s no longer as clear that the situation is ominous for Barack Obama on these regulations.
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The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.
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If you look at each line in this chart, you can see a slight dip in total species richness between 1955 and 1974. This deepens substantially in the following decades. Anthony Richardson, Author provided<p>This global pattern — where the number of species starts lower at the poles and peaks at the equator — results in a bell-shaped gradient of species richness. We looked at distribution records for nearly 50,000 marine species collected since 1955 and found a growing dip over time in this bell shape.</p>
This Has Happened Before<p>We shouldn't be surprised global biodiversity has responded so rapidly to global warming. This has happened before, and with dramatic consequences.</p><p><strong>252 million years ago…</strong></p><p>At the end of the Permian geological period about 252 million years ago, global temperatures warmed by 10℃ over 30,000-60,000 years as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from volcano eruptions in Siberia.</p><p><a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/30/17578" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 study</a> of the fossils from that time shows the pronounced peak in biodiversity at the equator flattened and spread. During this mammoth rearranging of global biodiversity, 90% of all marine species were killed.</p><p><strong>125,000 years ago…</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/109/52/21378" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2012 study showed</a> that more recently, during the rapid warming around 125,000 years ago, there was a similar swift movement of reef corals away from the tropics, as documented in the fossil record. The result was a pattern similar to the one we describe, although there was no associated mass extinction.</p><p>Authors of the study suggested their results might foreshadow the effects of our current global warming, ominously warning there could be mass extinctions in the near future as species move into the subtropics, where they might struggle to compete and adapt.</p><p><strong>Today…</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/23/12891" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">During the last ice age</a>, which ended around 15,000 years ago, the richness of forams (a type of hard-shelled, single-celled plankton) peaked at the equator and has been dropping there ever since. This is significant as plankton is a keystone species in the foodweb.</p><p>Our study shows that decline has accelerated in recent decades due to human-driven climate change.</p>
The Profound Implications<p>Losing species in tropical ecosystems means ecological resilience to environmental changes is reduced, potentially compromising ecosystem persistence.</p><p>In subtropical ecosystems, species richness is increasing. This means there'll be species invaders, novel predator-prey interactions, and new competitive relationships. For example, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-13/sydney-growing-own-coral-reef-with-help-from-tropical-fish/11466192" target="_blank">tropical fish</a> moving into Sydney Harbour compete with temperate species for food and habitat.</p><p>This could result in ecosystem collapse — as was seen at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods — in which species go extinct and ecosystem services (such as food supplies) are permanently altered.</p><p>The changes we describe will also have profound implications for human livelihoods. For example, many tropical island nations depend on the revenue from tuna fishing fleets through the selling of licenses in their territorial waters. Highly mobile tuna species are likely to move rapidly toward the subtropics, potentially beyond sovereign waters of island nations.</p><p><span></span>Similarly, many reef species important for artisanal fishers — and highly mobile megafauna such as whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles that support tourism — are also likely to move toward the subtropics.</p><p>The movement of commercial and artisanal fish and marine megafauna could compromise the ability of tropical nations to meet the <a href="https://sdgs.un.org/goals" target="_blank">Sustainable Development Goals</a> concerning zero hunger and marine life.</p>
Is There Anything We Can Do?<p>One pathway is laid out in the Paris Climate Accords and involves aggressively reducing our emissions. Other opportunities are also emerging that could help safeguard biodiversity and hopefully minimise the worst impacts of it shifting away from the equator.</p><p>Currently 2.7% of the ocean is conserved in <a href="https://mpatlas.org/" target="_blank">fully or highly protected reserves</a>. This is well short of the 10% target by 2020 under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.</p><p>But <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/global-ocean-alliance-30by30-initiative/about#global-ocean-alliance-members" target="_blank">a group of 41 nations</a> is pushing to set a new target of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.</p><p>This "30 by 30" target could ban seafloor mining and remove fishing in reserves that can destroy habitats and release as much carbon dioxide as <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03371-z" target="_blank">global aviation</a>. These measures would remove pressures on biodiversity and promote ecological resilience.</p><p>Designing climate-smart reserves could further protect biodiversity from future changes. For example, reserves for marine life could be placed in refugia where the climate will be stable over the foreseeable future.</p><p>We now have evidence that climate change is impacting the best-known and strongest global pattern in ecology. We should not delay actions to try to mitigate this.</p><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anthony-richardson-100303" target="_blank">Anthony Richardson</a>: Professor, The University of Queensland. <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chhaya-chaudhary-1223419" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Chhaya Chaudhary</a>: University of Auckland, <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-schoeman-111544" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">David Schoeman</a>: Professor of Global-Change Ecology, University of the Sunshine Coast, <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-john-costello-1223418" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mark John Costello</a>: Professor, University of Auckland</em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: Anthony Richardson receives funding from the Australian Research Council.</em></p><p><em>Chhaya Chaudhary works for Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. During her PhD studies (2014- 2019), she received part- funding from the European Marine Observation Data Network (EMODnet) Biology project funded by the European Commission's Directorate—General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), and received U21 Doctoral Mobility Scholarship from the University of Auckland in 2016.</em></p><p><em>David Schoeman receives funding from the Australian Research Council.</em></p><p><em>Mark John Costello does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-life-is-fleeing-the-equator-to-cooler-waters-history-tells-us-this-could-trigger-a-mass-extinction-event-158424" target="_blank" style="">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.
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1. Choosing the Right Binoculars<p>Binoculars are a relatively indispensable tool for most birders – but, for those just starting out, it might not yet be worth the several-hundred-dollar investment. If you aren't able to scour the attics of friends or borrow a pair from a fellow bird watcher, some local birding and naturalist groups have <a href="https://vashonaudubon.org/all-about-vashon-birds/binoculars-check-out/" target="_blank">binocular loaning programs</a> for members, allowing you to plan ahead for a day (or week) of birding.</p><p>When you're ready to take the plunge, choosing a pair or binoculars should take some careful deliberation based on your needs and preferences; some <a href="https://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/explore/optics/top-10-tips-buying-binoculars-bird-watching.php" target="_blank">major considerations</a> might include size, ease of use, <a href="https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/binoculars.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">magnification</a>, and price. While professional binoculars can easily run north of $1,000, there are plenty of perfectly suitable entry-level binoculars under $200. You might not get the perfect precision and clarity of more elite models, but a less expensive pair will allow you to strengthen your birding skills while deciding if you're interested in investing in a premium pair.</p><p>For a budget-friendly option, check out resale options on eBay, Facebook marketplace, or neighborhood yard sales: you might find a nicer pair whose retail price isn't within your budget.</p>
2. Know What Birds Are in Your Area<p>When I began to pay more attention to the birds just outside my apartment building, I started to learn what species have always been around me: European starlings, house sparrows, blue jays, black capped chickadees, and the occasional red-bellied woodpecker. They had always been there, but I hadn't ever taken the time to identify them. Once you learn to <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/get-know-these-20-common-birds_" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recognize common birds</a> in your area, you'll be able to identify the typical species right outside your window and in your community. Of course, permanent residential birds in your neighborhood will <a href="https://nestwatch.org/learn/focal-species/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">vary by region</a>, as will those migrating through it.</p>
3. Get Out and Explore<p>Venturing elsewhere might allow you to spot some different species beyond those frequenting your backyard. Anywhere with water or greenery offers a place for birding; as an urbanite myself, I've found that even small- and mid-sized parks in New York City allow me to find more elusive birds (although Central Park takes the crown for an afternoon of urban birding).</p><p>If you are able to travel a bit further from home, <a href="https://www.fws.gov/refuges/" target="_blank">national wildlife refuges</a> and <a href="https://www.americasstateparks.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">state/national parks</a> are excellent places to explore bird habitats and perhaps log some less-common sightings. The American Birding Association also lists <a href="https://www.aba.org/aba-area-birding-trails/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">birding trails by state</a>, and Audubon and BirdLife International identify <a href="https://www.audubon.org/important-bird-areas" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Important Bird Areas (IBAs)</a> across the country – important bird habitats and iconic places that activists are fighting to protect – where birders can spot birds of significance.</p>
4. Finding a Bird: Stop, Look, Listen, Repeat<p>The National Audubon Society recommends the "<a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/how-find-bird" target="_blank">stop, look, listen, repeat</a>" mantra when seeking and identifying birds.</p><p>First and foremost, spotting birds requires attention. Stopping – getting out of the car, pausing on the sidewalk, trail, or in the backyard to look up – is the most important step.</p><p>When looking for birds, try to avoid gazing wildly around; rather, scan your surroundings, focusing on any odd shapes or shadows, trying to think about where a bird might perch (power lines, fence posts, branches), or keep an eye on the sky for flying eagles and hawks. In open areas like fields and beaches, you might have a more panoramic view, and can take in different sections of the landscape at a time. Look around with the naked eye before reaching for the binoculars to hone in.</p><p>While it can be hard to sift through the noise, listening for birds is perhaps an even more important element of bird watching than looking. Once you spend more time in the field, you'll be able to parse apart the racket and identify specific species, especially aided by Audubon's Bird Guide app or by learning from their <a href="https://www.audubon.org/section/birding-ear" target="_blank">Birding by Ear series</a>.</p><p>Repeat this pattern as you continue on your way, stopping to look and listen for birds as you go, rather than waiting for them to come to you. </p>
5. Identification<p>When you head out for a day of bird watching – especially when you're hoping to spot some new species – you'll want to be armed with the tools to identify what you see. <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/how-identify-birds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Major considerations when identifying birds</a> are their group (such as owls, hawks, or sparrow-like birds), size and shape, behavior, voice, field marks, season, and habitat.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.sibleyguides.com/about/the-sibley-guide-to-birds/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sibley Guide to Birds</a> and the <a href="https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/peterson-field-guide-to-birds-of-north-america-second-edition/9781328771445" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Peterson Field Guide</a> are widely considered the best books for identifying birds in North America, although many <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/what-bird-guide-best-you" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">specialized guides</a> focus on specific species or regions as well.</p><p>Plenty of <a href="https://blog.nature.org/science/2013/05/27/boucher-bird-blog-apps-smart-birder/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bird identification apps</a> have popped up in recent years – including National Geographic Birds, Sibley eGuide to Birds, iNaturalist, Merlin Bird ID, and Birdsnap – which are basically a <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/the-best-birding-apps-and-field-guides" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">field guide in your pocket</a>. I'm partial to the Audubon Bird Guide, which allows users to filter by common identifiers, including a bird's habitat, color, activity, tail shape, and general type, adding them all to a personal map to view your sightings.</p>
6. Recording Your Sightings<p><span>As you deepen your commitment to birding, you might join the community of birders that track and quantify their sightings, building their </span><a href="https://www.thespruce.com/what-birds-count-on-a-life-list-386704#:~:text=A%20life%20list%20is%20a,which%20birds%20you%20have%20seen." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">life list</a><span>.</span></p><p>While a standard notebook noting the date, species name, habitat, vocalizations, or any other data you wish to include will suffice, some birders opt for a more <a href="https://www.riteintherain.com/no-195-birders-journal" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">structured birder's journal</a> with pre-determined fields to record your encounters, take notes, draw sketches, etc.</p><p>Many birders also choose to record their sightings online and in shared databases (which include many of the field guide apps), often pinpointing them on a map for others to view. Launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, <a href="https://ebird.org/home" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eBird is one of the largest databases and citizen science projects around birding</a>, where hundreds of thousands of birders enter their sightings, and users can explore birds in regions and hotspots around the world. Users can also record their sightings on the <a href="https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ebird/id988799279" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eBird app</a>.</p>
7. Attracting Birds to Your Own Yard<p>Feeding birds is a common phenomenon: more than 40% of Americans maintain a birdfeeder to attract birds and watch them feast.</p><p>Not all birdfeed is created equal, however. Many commercial varieties are mostly made with "fillers" (oats, red millet, etc.) that birds will largely leave untouched. After researching what birds to expect in your area – and which ones you want to attract – you can create your own birdfeed with <a href="https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/types-of-bird-seed-a-quick-guide/?pid=1142" target="_blank">seeds that will appeal to them</a>.</p><p>Beyond filling a birdfeeder, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/eco-friendly-lawn-2651194858.html" target="_self">transforming your yard into an eco-friendly oasis</a> is by far the best way to attract birds. Choosing to forgo mowing your lawn, planting native flowers and grasses, and ditching the pesticides will bring back the bugs that birds feed on, and provide a safe haven in which birds can happily live and eat.</p><p>While it's widely considered acceptable – and even beneficial – to feed birds with appropriate seeds, communal birdfeeders often <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/to-feed-or-not-feed" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">foster unlikely interactions between different species</a>, who can then transmit harmful diseases and parasites to one another. Maintaining several bird feeders with different types of seeds might keep different species from coming into contact, and feeders can be <a href="https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/how-to-clean-your-bird-feeder/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cleaned to prevent the spread of infection</a>.</p>
8. Inclusivity and Anti-Racism in the Birding Community<p>Like all outdoor activities and areas of scientific study, birding communities are subject to racist and discriminatory ideologies. Black birders have long experienced discrimination and underrepresentation in outdoor spaces. The work of organizations like the <a href="https://www.instagram.com/birdersfund/" target="_blank">Black & Latinx Birders Fund</a>, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/birdability/" target="_blank">Birdability</a>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/feministbirdclub/" target="_blank">Feminist Bird Club</a> highlight the contributions and importance of birders of color, birders with disabilities, and women and LGBTQ+ birders to the birding community, as do activists and naturalists like <a href="https://www.instagram.com/hood__naturalist/" target="_blank">Corina Newsome</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/tykeejames/" target="_blank">Tykee James</a>. The work of <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/its-bird-new-comic-written-central-park-birder-christian-cooper" target="_blank">Christian Cooper</a>, <a href="https://camilledungy.com/publications/" target="_blank">Camille Dungy</a> (read her poem <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/58363/frequently-asked-questions-10" target="_blank">Frequently Asked Questions: 10</a>), and <a href="https://orionmagazine.org/article/9-rules-for-the-black-birdwatcher/" target="_blank">J. Drew Lanham</a> – including his essay "<a href="https://lithub.com/birding-while-black/" target="_blank">Birding While Black</a>" – are a great place to start.</p><p>Getting involved in birding means educating ourselves on these issues and taking meaningful action; the work of <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/its-bird-new-comic-written-central-park-birder-christian-cooper" target="_blank">Christian Cooper</a> and <a href="https://orionmagazine.org/article/9-rules-for-the-black-birdwatcher/" target="_blank">J. Drew Lanham</a> – including his essay "<a href="https://lithub.com/birding-while-black/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Birding While Black</a>" – are a great place to start. Just as birders are activists for protecting habitats and natural areas, we must also be active and aware of inclusivity in these spaces.</p>
9. Get Involved<p>To learn from and enjoy the company of other birders, check out local birding groups in your area to join. Many Audubon chapters host trips, meetings, and bird walks for members. The American Birding Association even maintains a <a href="https://www.aba.org/festivals-events/" target="_blank">directory of birding festivals</a> across the country.</p><p>Volunteering for birds is also a great way to meet other birders and take action for birds in your community; local organizations might have opportunities for assisting with habitat restoration or helping at birding centers.</p><p>Like all wildlife, climate change and habitat destruction threaten the livelihood of birds, eliminating their breeding grounds and food sources. A <a href="https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees" target="_blank">2019 report released by the National Audubon Society</a> found that two-thirds of North American birds may face extinction if global temperatures rise 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Staying informed about and taking action for legislation designed to protect birds and our climate – such as the recent <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5552/text" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Migratory Bird Protection Act</a> – is important for ensuring a livable future for wildlife and humans alike.</p><p><em>Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in English and Environmental Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Most recently, Linnea worked at Hunger Free America, and has interned with WHYY in Philadelphia, Saratoga Living Magazine, and the Sierra Club in Washington, DC. </em><em>Linnea enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, reading, practicing her German, and volunteering on farms and gardens and for environmental justice efforts in her community. Along with journalism, she is also an essayist and writer of creative nonfiction.</em></p>
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