A team of volunteers has restored a half-acre patch of City Park to attract songbirds. Eileen Fleming reports it’s the start of a national campaign to save one million songbirds by creating 50,000 acres of new habitat.
The National Wildlife Federation is leading a drive to provide food, water and shelter for migrating songbirds, such as sparrows and cardinals.
Federation naturalist David Mizejewski says bird migration involves species that are now in Central and South America.
“At this time of year those birds are gearing up for their northward migration for breeding. And guess what they have to do? They have to fly across the Gulf of Mexico. So again, think of little warblers, and hummingbirds. These birds are flying across this vast ocean, and the first land that they hit is here in coastal Louisiana.”
Ornithologist Ghislain Rompre is helping coordinate the Save the Songbirds campaign for the Scotts bird food company.
“We’ve realized that in the last 43 years, just about 25 species out of 45 are in decline in North America.”
Volunteers at City Park planted trees and helped install a water feature that will attract and refresh the exhausted birds. Joining the teams was Diana Gray, who moved to New Orleans about a year ago, and a friend showed her the birds that pass through the region.
“She started pointing out all the songbirds. We went down to The Fly and she was showing me along the Mississippi all these little birds that just sing beautifully. And I started seeing them for the first time. So when I heard about this, I said I want to come and do this and come back and get behind the blind and watch the birds and see more of them.”
The restored habitat is along the Arboretum Trail fronting on Harrison Avenue in City Park.