Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another election scandal (Ken).

Until a couple of days ago, I thought that state or provincial birds were cute, folksy things that appealed mainly to primary school students and people who worked in tourism offices. I thought that – until I heard about the Florida State Bird election controversy. Maybe you are tired of hearing about yet another Florida election scandal, but this one is important, too.

I don’t have all of the details: dates, numbers, etc, but here’s what I’ve heard. The two front-runners in a Florida State Bird election a few years ago were Northern Mockingbird and Florida Scrub Jay. It was looking as though the jay might pull off an upset . . . until some developers suddenly threw their support – and campaign dollars – behind the mockingbird. I don’t know if the campaigning was as dirty as during political elections, but in the final polls the Northern Mockingbird was declared the winner.

I am going to go out on a limb (although not as far out as a jay or mocker would go) and say that Northern Mockingbirds don’t give a squawk about whether or not they are the Florida State Bird or not. The Mockingbird is already the state bird of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida.

Here are some reasons why I believe that Florida Scrub Jays would make an excellent State Bird:

1) The Florida Scrub Jay lives only in Florida and is the state’s only endemic bird (Northern Mockingbirds are widespread across North America and Mexico and have been seen in every state except Hawaii and every province and territory in Canada except Nunavut).

2) The Florida Scrub Jay is beautiful: a misty, cerulean blue with a pale gray back.

3) I am the first to admit that a Northern Mockingbird is a splendid singer, but have you ever heard the Florida Scrub-Jay’s raucous, rising kreeeesh?

4) Most importantly, Floridians would make sure that Florida Scrub Jays survive into the future. They have been on Audubon’s 10 Most Endangered Birds list, and their numbers are still declining. They can’t afford to lose any more habitat, and what is remaining needs to be managed properly.

This may seem like a tongue-in-cheek blog, but I’m serious. I’ve heard that there is already a small (but hopefully determined) group of people who hope to rally support for another vote for Florida State Bird. I hope that anyone who reads this blog can find a way to help such as writing a letter to an appropriate politician or contacting your local Audubon or other conservation-minded organization. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Florida Scrub-jays also sit on out of state visitors heads. What a welcoming bird! Such a greeter should be given a responsible job...State Bird. One argument I heard recently against the scrub-jay becoming our state bird was that it eats baby birds. Well so does the Northern Mockingbird. Our pair killed a nest full of Carolina Wren chicks. Thats nature. The reason "they" dont want it as state bird is because of urban Florida needs more of that!
Im fed up the "theys" its about time the us's had their say, after all we hold the votes!

Great meeting you guys, keep up the fight and cycle safe.

Andy, Julie and Maisie

Jeanne H said...

Even before I read the first comment I was thinking, "Yes... The developers don't want the Scrub Jay to be the state bird because protecting them might get in the way of some of their developments."

I'm a cyclist and a bird lover. Wish I had met you guys. Where are you now?


Bird Year said...

Hey we are now in Gulf Breeze and cycling back westward. We've met many great people on this trip (including Andy, Julie and Maisie in Tallahassee - sorry we didn't meet Jeanne! You can follow our adventures more closely on our website as well - Ken