Glaucous-Winged Gull (drawing by Emilio Gonzalez)
by Sydney Rometsch
Our new name, Birds Connect Seattle, represents the ways that birds connect all of us. Birds connect us to our families, they connect our communities by bringing diverse groups together, and they connect us to our history. Birds connect us to history in a variety of ways.
Birds connect us to historical people. Birds provide us with the ability to connect with people of the past who would have also interacted with the same species of birds we see today. For example, with insight from Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphics, we know that pigeons have been domesticated by people for over 5,000 years.
Canada Jay (drawing by Emilio Gonzalez)
Birds connect us to changing environments. Many bird species are affected by human impact. For example, Canada Jays cache their food by using saliva to stick food on tree branches above snowline. But, with warming winter temperatures, their food is defrosting and refreezing repeatedly throughout the winter season diminishing the food’s nutritional value. Because of historical records, we know how birds have been impacted, how they have adapted, and ways we can help alleviate these impacts.
Birds connect us to the future. By tomorrow, today will have become history, and all the data that we continue to collect will help connect birds and us to people of the future. This data will help to ensure birds can be appreciated for many generations to come.
On May 6, 2023, birds connected our families, our communities, and our histories at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park – Seattle Unit. Together, Klondike, Birds Connect Seattle, and the Downtown Seattle Association held an event focused on urban birds with a connection to the Klondike Gold Rush.
House Sparrow (drawing by Emilio Gonzalez)
Attendees found out, for example, why the Golden-crowned Sparrow should be the mascot of the Klondike Gold Rush (hint: it has something to do with its song) and how the introduced species we find commonly today were not so common to prospectors.
A presentation at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park theater, at 319 2nd Ave S., was followed by a bird outing starting at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square.
Bird Drawings: Emilio González, Artist in Residence at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Sources: National Geographic, eBird, and allaboutbirds.org.
Full Drawings of (L-R) Glacous-Winged Gull, Canada Jay, and House Sparrow (by Emilio Gonzalez)
Next Gen Council / Klondike Gold Rush NPS
Sydney is a new addition to Seattle from Michigan. Her interest in birding started as a hiking guide in Alaska, when her co-worker could identify every bird in the sky. From that point, Sydney decided she wanted to learn and be able to identify the birds around her. She embodies her love of wildlife and birds every day as a park ranger for the National Park Service, and is excited to continue that work with the NextGen Advisory Council.
Do you believe conservation and education should be informed by science? Consider volunteering on our Science Committee.
Yoon Lee isn’t sure where to credit his fascination with birds – Wild Kratts television show, an Anna’s Hummingbird on his school campus, or a global pandemic. Either way, it is here to stay, and he is busy creating a better future for birds in our community through his activism.
If you have been feeding the hummingbirds and they have become accustomed to finding food in your yard, there are steps you can take to keep nectar available even during cold snaps.