Jestem na pTak! Kanał RSS Jestem na pTak! Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:48:03 +0100 Jestem na pTak! (http://jestemnaptak.pl) http://jestemnaptak.pl noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Jestem na pTak! Merry Christmas! Fri, 19 Dec 2014 09:55:33 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/merry-christmas http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/merry-christmas noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Or so they say!
 
What would the birds, looking through the Christmas windows tell us?
Maybe they would ask for more cherry trees in the garden. How about geese? Still on the hunting list - native, sensitive and mourning after a loss of each family member.
What would the dog say, the one who spends all its life on the leash. Will we hear the voice of millions of animals held in captivity on industrial farms or carps – sold still alive in plastic bags?
It is worth to think for a while about the questions that we usually ignore.
Preferably, in the spirit of New Year's resolutions.
 
Instead of eating another cake, let us take our whole family and dogs for a long, interesting walk. And even better - maybe we can visit the nearest animal shelter and take someone from there for a walk to the winter meadow. Let it be the first of many walks together. On the way - let us find the most beautiful tree around and find out everything about it. Maybe an alley? Maybe after the Christmas it can be preserved as the memorial?
We can show the children how to install a bird feeder in a garden or outside of a window and feed birds with something unique (and healthy!).
There is no better lesson than the lesson of compassion and helping others.
 
However, above all else - we should slow down and hug our loved ones.
And let us say all these good words to them. The words that we don't have time for every day.
 
Let us Be4Birds!
Before it’s too late.
 
And we wish you that.
 ]]>
The proof of existence Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:45:35 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/the-proof-of-existence http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/the-proof-of-existence noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! 28th December - after the Christmas buzz and before the New Year's Eve craziness, find some time to listen to the First program of Polish Radio and Alicja Grembowicz's documentary, titled The proof of existence.
 
The documentary was created before June; it includes not only the conversations recorded during the third Convention of the Birds of Poland Club, but also the later meeting at a tea party with Tomasz and Grzegorz Kłosowski in Biebrza.
Łukasz Łukasik unveiled a little bit of the secret of photographing nature.
 
We will talk about angels, summer invasion of aliens and about aquatic warbler - top model. There will be also such questions as - why is goldfinch considered to be a Christ's bird, why do young common swifts sometimes fall in coma. Dancing common cranes, magical gaviiformes, great bastard, and greyhens and constantly changing Biebrza.
We  discuss these topics and reveal many other bird mysteries in the recommend documentary.
 
"Dowód na istnienie, Program Pierwszy Polskiego Radia" ( The proof of existence, First program of Polish Radio ), 28th December at 9:15pm
 ]]>
Contact Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:35:55 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/contact http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/contact noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!

Addesses for correspondence

Office in Sopot
Birds of Poland Association
Abrahama 1/2
81-825 Sopot

Office in Goniądz
Birds of Poland Association
Dolistowska 21
19-110 Goniądz

KRS number:
0000253695

Emilia Sokołowska
Coordinator of the Campaign
emilia.sokolowska@ptakipolskie.pl
+48 609 509 895

Anna Pilarska
Expert on social communication and PR 
(currently on maternity leave) 
anna.pilarska@ptakipolskie.pl
+48 785 745 737

Jacek Karczewski
Content-related Specialist
jacek.karczewski@ptakipolskie.pl
+48 603 746 737
 ]]>
After us, the deluge Sun, 16 Nov 2014 10:40:28 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/after-us-the-deluge http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/after-us-the-deluge noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! The killing of such angel was believed to bring misfortune.
If there is a grain of truth in the old sailors’ believes, now is the time to be afraid...

At sea and on land
 
Each year we’re killing 100 thousands of albatrosses. On average one every 5 minutes. At least one bird will die in agony before you’ll finish your coffee. All that is caused by the longline fishing that is mainly used for tuna. Each fishing boat is equipped with two lines - quite often 100 km long with 3 thousands baited hooks. During fishing the last 100 meters of the line is set just below the water surface. This is where most of birds die lured by an easy meal. Some of the colonies of large Wandering Albatrosses (their wingspan exceeds 3.5 meters, but there are reports of 5 meters record-holders) that have been monitored for half a century, now mark a fall of a further 2% to 6 % each year. Albatrosses have inhabited Earth for the past 50 million years. Are they going to survive another 50?

Every night, only in the North Pacific, a total of 48-64 thousands of fishing nets are being stretched. It’s more than the length of the equator. Every night around 40 km of nets breaks and drifts in the ocean for years, like moving snares. There is no chance that strong, nylon nets will ever decay and stop the killing. Beside fish, millions of other animals die in the death nets - as some describe the industrial fishing nets.

In the years 1986-90, only in the small Gulf of Gdańsk, 175 thousands of wintering ducks such as Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and Common Eider died. This constitutes between 10% to 20% of the whole winter population in the region. In the areas of the intensive fishing - like for example in the north of Norway - whole colonies of seabirds die. The main cause of this is not at all a competition for fish (in general birds are fishing for the small ones, people, for the big ones), but the so called by-catch, the accidental death in the nets intended for fishing. In this way, only the Japanese and Taiwanese squid fishing units, only in the North Pacific region by-catch around 875 thousands of seabirds each year.

Meanwhile, it would be enough to mark the fishing lines with vivid colors. It would be enough to use blue hooks rather than shiny ones, because those when in the water and viewed from above look just like fish that the birds hunt for. It would be better to immerse the lines deeper into the water and to spread them for the night instead of day; the same with the nets. And finally – it would be enough to stop pirate fishing. It can be done, if  people show willingness to cooperate and if there’s still some fish left in the seas and oceans. Unfortunately, most of the population has declined since the 70s by around 90%.

Without any changes on the land.
3 species of vultures live in the Southern Asia. Only 20 years ago, in the mid-90s, each of those species had a strong population amounting to around 40 million heads each. About 10 years later these birds were almost gone. By 2004, 97-99% of all local vultures had disappeared. It turned out to have been caused by diclofenac – an active substance commonly used in the production of veterinary drugs that the birds swallowed with the carrion causing in the result a dysfunction of internal organs and a slow death. In 2006 the governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal, after long negotiations (!), finally banned the fatal substance. However, it is impossible to withdraw drugs already produced and in circulation. Just like it is impossible to fully control thousands of smaller and bigger not always legal manufactures.

The effects of eliminating the vultures from hot climate of southern Asia do not need to be explained. Africa is now on the verge of a disaster where the stocks of banned substance are being smuggled. Someone will be rich again. But we will all lose! Meanwhile, the diclofenac may be easily replaced by other agents. As usual, the most important are common sense, good will and the willingness to cooperate. As usual – those are missing.

Perhaps the most depressing fact is that it all did happen before. This happened in Europe, North America and Australia – in the sixties and the seventies of the last century. DDT added to the plant protection products, the synonym of progress and modern agriculture at the time, has initiated a domino of death. Poisonous toxins that were accumulating in animal organisms were spreading on the subsequent food chain link. DDT has wreaked havoc among predators that closed that chain and DDT  accumulated in their bodies. Those were the times when Common Wood Pigeon fell from trees like a snow pear. It was an easy meal for foxes and badgers, whose entire families were found dead afterword - sometimes under the same tree. It could happen to any animal that previously had eaten something poisonous...sad evidence that in the nature we are all connected and interdependent. After years of research and efforts of the environmentalists the substance was officially prohibited – neither DDT nor its derivatives disappeared unnoticed. Their traces are still to be found in the environment - even on the remote Antarctic. Besides, they are still doing well within the illegal trading. Only that nowadays they are mainly used in the African countries.

It is being estimated that in the last 100 years, European population of birds shrunk by at least one billion. Only in the last 30 years we have lost around 421 million of birds of various species. On an annual basis, the reduction rate of our domestic population in the period of the last 10 years may reach even a million in total. Among the fastest vanishing birds we will find the migratory songbirds. European population of Nightingales, Wood Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers and European Pied Flycatchers had decreased by 52-67%. Will the spring of 2030 welcome us in total silence?
 
In the contact with tradition
In 2001, in Greenland, a spring hunting ban of breeding birds was introduced. But only in 2004 the restriction was already abolished. This restriction was disapproved not only by professional hunters but also by regular citizens. Their argument was that the bird hunting is an important part of the Innuitian tradition and “a means to stay in contact with their roots”. This is not all: Greenlandic hunters received EU subsidies, just like farmers in our country.

The problem is that, for example, the inhabitants of Greenland, protecting their tradition, use very untraditional tools whilst hunting nowadays. Professional hunters as well as many amateurs are equipped with modern motor boats that are used to come closer to the hatching cliffs from the sea. Then they are reaching for similarly modern semiautomatic rifles. In the course of such escapades hundreds and thousands of birds are being killed. No one even bothers to collect them. Their bodies are washed away by the sea and fill the seashore in large amount. After all, the hunting nowadays has nothing to do with the obtaining of food. The contemporary Inuits are in vast majority visiting supermarkets for that. It is no different on the arctic shores of the nearby Canada and in Alaska. In the 1845, around 100 thousands of large, multispecies colonies of the seabirds lived only on the coasts of Greenland. Today there are as little as few thousands of small and close to being extinct colonies.

Over the years our hunters - also traditionally - were shooting to bustards, wood grouse and black grouse. Today this tradition does not exist anymore - just like the bustards. Wood and Black grouse, counting few hundreds of birds, are on the edge of surviving. Just like many other birds. Officially around half a million of birds of 13 different species are being shot to each year. Within the area of the Mediterranean Sea - even one billion is likely to be killed. The birds are killed in all possible way, regardless of the season and species. Until now, hunting has been a way of spending free time. In the Middle East hunting has recently started to be considered as a form of male initiation for teenagers.

During hunting many birds are injured and thus, they are condemned to a slow death. Hunters themselves admit that in the case of shot geese as many as 80% are injured not killed. The particular problem is caused by toxic lead that is transferred into the environment in the form of gun pellet. A lot of it is dispersed in the waters where it is accidentally swallowed by birds (and fish). As a result of poisoning paralysis of intestines, limbs and neck occurs. The dying may take up to few weeks. The continuity of the “tradition” causes an increasing accumulation of lead in the environment. Only in the United States, where appropriate tests were conducted, hunting areas are filled with 70 thousands of pellets per one hectare. Every year at least 2.2 million birds die there from the lead poisoning. In some bays on the northern shores the accumulation of pellet lead is so significant that the survival rate of the otherwise long-lived Spectacled Eiders has decreased by 35%.

“If we do not change directions, we get to where we are going.” (Chinese proverb)
One in eight bird species is now threatened with extinction. A total of at least 1,200 species - 12% of all species are threatened. 182 are critically endangered and that gives them only 50% chance of surviving the next 10 years. At least 24% of all mammals, 27% of reptiles, 20% of amphibians and 30% of fish are endangered. We take full responsibility for that. For the first time in the history of Earth, one species threatens life of the whole planet.

Loss of habitat, their fragmentation, cutting it with roads, factories, fields and estates, that facilitate the penetration of the area and infiltration of diseases and dangerous alien species, killing birds, selecting their eggs and chicks as well as fish harvesting for the commercial purposes are the main reasons of decline of any species and the greatest danger for the whole biodiversity on Earth. It should be stressed that the pollution and climate change are still accumulating and their destructive effects will be felt more and more violently.

There is no place on Earth that wouldn’t be directly or indirectly touched by human activity. Until now the previous generations had a good life. Can we say the same about the ones that will be coming after us? One thing is certain - they will live in uglier and much littered world, deeply impoverished, and very, very crowded.

It took us hundred thousands of years to reach a number of 10 million people on Earth. It had happened around 10 thousands years ago. 200 years ago, in the beginning of XIX century there were as many as one billion of us. 100 years ago –this number increased to nearly one and a half billion. Today, only after 100 years, there are more than 7 billion people in the world. Between 1900 and 2000 more people lived on Earth than a total of all population in the history of our planet up to 1900. We are probably the most numerous land vertebrate on Earth. All together we constitute a total of more than 30% of the so-called terrestrial vertebrate biomass. More than 60% constitutes our farm animals that we’ll eat in a moment. Barely 2-3% constitutes a total of all wild animals. Like no other species and at an extraordinary pace we’re consuming our planet’s resources, we transform and destroy its life-giving habitats and we exterminate other species. We are constantly growing at the same time. Demographers predict that the population will continue to grow. If we do not come to our senses (and there’s no sign of that) around 2050 we will reach over 10 billion, and around 2095 - over 12 billion. For the majority of species on Earth that could mean only one thing: the end of the word! And the end for us as well.

Various government departments around the world consider birds as the so-called bio-indicators - a natural early warning system. No wonder, since the birds in a wide variety of species inhabit literally the whole Earth and all of the key types of habitats. In addition to this they are very mobile, and as a diurnal being they are easy to observe. Some key scientists and government experts are by no means the first who came up with this idea. It was easily done by the ancient Romans or even the miners...

The last canary
The canary has long ceased to sing in the mine. And the Roman geese became quiet. Around the world millions of birds are dying. Millions of others are sending us a warning signal. They indicate where and what the problem is. They suggest how to solve it. We, however, with reckless stubbornness ignore our messengers and what they have to say to us.

Life on Earth does not look like a Christmas tree on top of which sits a proud man - “the crown of creation”. It is a very human-based, comfortable and anthropocentric point of view. The picture of life and interrelationship is much better reflected by the view of huge roll of impossibly tangled lines. All elements of this tangle penetrate mutually and are connected directly or indirectly to one another - they depend on one another. We can never be sure what would happen if we cut out another piece of this network of terrestrial life. The fate of others we’ve decided for may one day affect us. One thing is certain: The life on Earth without humans will be perfectly fine. Humans without life on Earth – not that much anymore.

As long as there are birds, as long there is hope. The rest depends on us.

Let’s Be4Birds. Before it’s too late.

More on this subject in the article “Martha and 5 billion”, which was published in Gazeta Wyborcza, on October 31st 2014, and is available as well in the extended version here.


The campaign Be4Birds is in progress. It’s the first nationwide campaign of the natural knowledge and education (Kampania Wiedzy i Edukacji Przyrodniczej) in the history. It is enough to pay attention to the world around us, to all those with whom we share our planet and with whom we have so much in common. And this is the subject of our Campaign - to connect and to pay attention. And it is worth it to join us! Because birds are fascinating. Just as fascinating and wonderfully diverse as life on Earth. We’ve got to hurry though- because it’s declining. It is the time for changes – naturally Be4Birds.

More information on this subject may be found in Gazeta Wyborcza - media partner of the campaign. In today’s release (17.11) - a poster
Rare and endangered birds” and stickers Be4Birds!

Highly recommended!
 ]]>
Buy Gazeta Wyborcza on 17th November. Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:05:13 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/buy-gazeta-wyborcza-on-17th-november http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/buy-gazeta-wyborcza-on-17th-november noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! When? 17th November.
How? With Gazeta Wyborcza
Where? Everywhere in Poland.
How many? 250 thousand birds!
 
Night heron, fish hawk, black grouse or little bittern - each of them is different, interesting, unique and intriguing.
Things that they have in common- uncertain future and no place to live.
 
Rare and endangered birds - they are the leading motif of the third edition of the "Be4Birds!" campaign. 
But also the loss of biodiversity and suitable place to live are connected with it.
Hence, the third poster (after "the Birds of Parks and Gardens" and "the Birds of Swamps and Wetlands") that accompanies our campaign.
 
31 species - portrayed and described especially for you.
Designed in order for you to get to know them better and protect them even better than before.
Colours, elegance, beauty and education - everything is here!
Press article in Gazeta Wyborcza will accompany the poster. Article entitled "Po nas choćby i potop" (After us – let there be the Flood) which is a second article from the cycle devoted to the history of birds extermination, but also to many other species on Earth. In the accessible and graphic way we try to tell you what is happening with birds, nature and life around us. Sad but important stories. We can still draw conclusions.
 
Will we benefit from this history lesson?
Read our article and comment on the web page!
(read the first article from the cycle: Martha and 5 billions
 
As early as on Sunday, 15th November, we invite you to listen to the
TOK FM Radio. In the broadcast Zielono mi (I am feeling green) we will tell the editor, Ewa Podolska, about birds and the Be4Birds! campaign.
On Sunday, shortly after 8:00pm we invite you to listen to the Fourth Program of Polish Radio.
In the broadcast Folk Off - together with Maciej Szajkowski - we will focus on what connects us the most with birds - music!
Be warned - we will bring our favorite discs with us.
Join the campaign and be on Be4Birds!
Before it’s too late.
 
In the photographs - behind the scenes of creating the poster.
To encourage you - fragments of already made poster.
The complete poster, especially for you, in Gazeta Wyborcza on 17th November-available all across Poland.
 
Both previous and current posters were designed and painted by Regina Bartek.
Choice of species, content-related control and text - Jaczek Karczewski (Birds of Poland)

 
TOK FM, 15th November 2014, Zielono mi (I am feeling green):

 ]]>
Birds of Poland Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:35:42 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/birds-of-poland http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/birds-of-poland noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
Three words cover our mission: Get to know, Love, Help.
 
We realize this mission by education, social communication and the so-called active protection. We publish materials, make movies, organize exhibitions and work outdoors - we change the landscape and protect dying species.
 
Our team combines the knowledge of professional protectors, various experience of many branches and an honest passion of true naturalists. We develop cooperation network: with national parks and other non-governmental organizations, with schools, business partners, farmers and media. We also cooperate with national and European institutions.
 
Within our current actions it is worth to mention, among others, all-Poland Be4Birds! campaign. - www.jestemnapTAK.pl, Bagna są dobre (Swamps are good!) project, The mouth of Warta river - www.bagnasadobre.pl, Orlik, Ptak Jakich Mało (Spotted eagle is unique) project - www.orlikgrubodzioby.org.pl.
 
We also invite you to our online shop - www.sklepnapTAK.pl and our main website - www.ptakipolskie.pl
 
We also have one very important invitation - to the Birds of Poland Club (Klub Ptaków Polskich). Join us. Together we can do more.
 
 
Be4Birds!
With Birds of Poland.
 ]]>
Martha and 5 billion... Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:20:04 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/martha-and-5-billion http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/martha-and-5-billion noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!
This is how the North American Passenger Pigeons travelled. It is believed that at that time their population could even account for at least 5 billion - 25% to 40% of all North American birds. This was probably the most numerous species of bird that had ever lived on Earth. 100 years later, when the World War I broke out and people turned their talents to the mass killing of one another the pigeons had already been gone.

Martha, the last of the numerous family, named after the wife of President Washington, died 100 years ago: at the zoo in Cincinnati, on Tuesday, 1st of September 1914, about one in the afternoon. Most likely, she was 29 years old. After the necropsy, what was left of Martha (and the whole species), was stuffed and mounted on a branch in a display cabinet. The last free female was shot on the 24th of March 1900 by 14-year-old C. Southworth Presson on his family's farm in Ohio. The family somehow felt that they came into possession of something special - and thus-they stuffed the bird the domestic way. In the place of eyes they sewed two buttons. Soon they gave their trophy to the museum hall in the nearby Columbus and a sad and crooked exhibit is up to this day called a Button.

Pigeons were cheap meat for the slaves, the poor, and livestock. For some it was an opportunity for an easy business, for others a way to kill time... Mountains of dead or still alive birds were transported by rail to the rapidly growing cities. Sometimes even more bodies were lingering in the rotting heaps, because the railway could not keep pace or the suppliers miscalculated the demand. Abandoned, mutilated birds were dying everywhere in agony. Soon the pigs were brought to feed on the survivors. People were informing each other about the upcoming routes or nesting places via telegraph.

In the areas where Passenger Pigeons were settling down soon a real slaughter began. It was facilitated by the fact that these birds were very social and they did everything in groups. For example, according to the descriptions from 1878, the breeding colonies near Petoskey city were stretched out among the pristine forests of the Great Lakes on the length of almost 50km and with 6km width!

Apocalyptic scenes - fire, smoke, roar, smell, blood, feathers, and the excitement of hunters, traders and all sorts of middlemen - lasted for weeks, until the total exhaustion of the “resources” and people. Pigeons were killed in all possible ways. Some were intoxicated with smoke. People were casting nets on the birds sleeping in the trees. To get to them - they were cutting down entire trees. Struggling pigeons were being killed with sticks; their skulls were being crashed with thumbs. Young, non-volatile birds were knocked down from the nests with long poles or they were forced to suicide escape by setting fire to their nests with the flaming arrows. Above all, however - people were shooting the pigeons. The games which were very popular included: who will shoot down the highest number of birds in a given amount of time. Audubon counted 3 million pigeons sold on the small-town market in Kentucky by a single hunter in one year only.

Not many people care about the fate of several billion of pigeons that were murdered in less than two generations. But when Martha was the only bird left in the world (her partner George died in July 1910) crowds gathered before its cage every day.

Martha's death reverberates in America but it did not stop the massive devastation of the pristine landscapes or did not stop the extermination of another species. Later that same year, the world watched the last Carolina Parakeet living at large. The last of the family, a male named Inka, died surrounded by his guardians, on the 21st of February 1918 - in the same zoo and in the same aviary, where Martha had died earlier. There was no doubt that Inka died of grief after his eternal partner, Lady Jane, whom he lost in summer of the year before.

When there were no more Carolina Parakeets or Passenger Pigeons the hunters turned their rifles towards Eskimo Curlew. It was also a very large, very sociable species the population of which was counted in millions. The last curlew was probably seen in Barbados in 1963.

In the park located in Wisconsin there is a monument of Passenger Pigeon which bears the following writing: "This species became extinct because of human greed and thoughtlessness." These words are still valid and always have been.
 
There was no Arcadia
In 1598 the first settlers arrived in Mauritius. By 1681 there was no longer any Dodo neither there nor anywhere else on Earth. Big, fat and gentle ground pigeons served as food storage for the ships passing near the island.

The same situation, only earlier and on a larger scale, happened on the nearby Madagascar. Before people had arrived to the island, there were about 10 species of flightless elephant bird. The largest of these, Aepyornis maximus, had nearly 3m in height and with his weight reaching 450kg it probably was the heaviest bird in the history of the Earth. His eggs have held a record too. They measured one meter in circumference and they were the largest eggs ever laid by any animals, including the big dinosaurs. To this day, on some beaches of Madagascar the fragments of their shells can be found. Last elephant bird survived until the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Similar pattern is repeated every time and everywhere where people arrive. The assumptions about the alleged symbiosis and the lives of our ancestors in harmony with nature (today we would say: the sustainable use of resources) is an absolute myth.

Before Polynesians arrived in New Zealand - probably around 1300 - it was like a great, natural bird sanctuary. Before the arrival of humans there were no other mammals. The role of large herbivores, characteristic of all the continents and large islands, was played by birds - including at least 11 species of moa. As for the large herbivores, some of them were really large. Dinornis maximus had over 3m in height and weighed around 270kg. Around 1700, probably all moa had already been killed. The only thing left after the big birds were the bones and ornaments manufactured from them.

Together with moa disappeared the Harpagonis Moorei, a giant eagle who preyed on them. The elimination of a species always affects other species that are associated with it. This could lead to following extinction. During that time in New Zealand at least 24 other species disappeared. Extermination progressed systematically, from north to south, along with the colonization of the islands. The influx of white people from approx. 1840 resulted in the disappearance of the subsequent birds. Since the time when there were people in New Zealand a total of at least 40% of the species  became extinct - 45 different and unique life forms.

Even worse was a fate of birds living in Hawaii. The general rule was (and still is) that the longer a given island is colonized, the more its landscape is transformed and the more its nature is depleted. The most extreme form of this rule can be traced on the Easter Islands. Insular civilization Rapa Nui had collapsed long before white explorers arrived there. After days of glory what is left are only the mysterious statues and a completely stripped, barren landscape. The Galapagos Islands are the exception to this rule - no extinction! Why? Not so climate-friendly Galapagos has never been colonized by the so-called primitive peoples.

Polynesians not only ate the birds (and other animals), they adorned themselves with their feathers and bones. They would bring along the pigs, dogs, rats, and a great transformation to the landscapes of sensitive island ecosystems. (So ​​they did exactly what we all are doing now - literally everywhere in the whole Earth!) After them the white colonizers arrived with the obsession for trophies, for which some collectors and museums were willing to pay large sums. Both groups were then in a hurry, because they knew that it would not be enough for everyone - trophies and exhibits. (They did exactly the same thing that many of us do today...)

In the last five centuries at least half of the bird species of Pacific Islands which had inhabited them disappeared. Researchers on that subject estimate that only in the last millennium we have brought the destruction of 1/5 of the species on Earth. Probably even greater havoc was wreaked by Polynesians during the ongoing colonization for several thousand years. While on islands, many of the entire species and ecosystems were extinct due to domestic or wild animals taken onto the island, whereas all continental extinctions were caused by the complete wipe out of all animals. The best example is what  happened in North America and Europe - and what is still happening and is most evident in Asia and Africa nowadays.

 
The great grub
 
On the 30th of October 1594 during the wedding reception of Duchess Anna of Prussia and John Sigismund Hohenzollern - later regent and duke of Prussia, during the reign of Sigismund III, the invited guests ate for example: 13 bison, 20 elks, 10 stags, 22 hinds, 36 boars, 29 piglets, 2 bears, 48 roe deer, 272 hares, 5 swans (those were probably mute swans), 123 Eurasian woodcock, 279 black grouses, 433 hazel grouses, 47 partridges, 413 wild ducks (...).

Even more could be eaten by guests invited to the feast hosted by George Neville on the occasion of his assumption of the office of the Archbishop of York, in September 1465. Here is what was killed and served to the table that day: 6 wild bulls (perhaps it was bison imported from continental Europe), 1000 lambs or sheep, 304 calves, 304 piglets, 400 swans (probably mute swans), 2000 geese, 1000 capons, 2000 chickens, 400 plovers (we do not know exactly what species), 1200 quails, 2400 ruffs, 104 peacocks, 4000 mallards and garganeys, 204 cranes, 4000 pigeons, 4000 rabbits, 204 bitterns, 400 herons (probably grey heron), 200 pheasants, 500 partridge, 400 Eurasian woodcock, 100 curlews, 1000 white heron and /or little egrets (...).

For particularly demanding guests, birds were caught alive and then fed for a specific time so as to give them a desired meat flavor. Terrified wild birds often did not want to eat. This by no means discouraged people in charge. With the help of funnels and tubes they were forcing herons, storks, cranes and swans to eat - still in some regions domestic ducks and geese are fattened this way for a foie gras.

The chicks were special delicacies. Within a few quarters, entire colonies of gulls or terns were disappearing. In Europe, even quite recently (still practiced here and there) nesting boxes of various shapes and designs for Sparrows was very popular. Birds were willing to take a false nesting box, and people (at the right time) were taking their young away.

More than 100 years ago the eggs were collected on a large scale as well. Every spring, most of the first eggs that our cranes or lapwings had laid ended up in peasants’ baskets. In Western Europe it was a large business which, for example in the British Isles, almost led to the extinction of lapwing, black-tailed godwits or ruffs. For the same reason whole colonies of seagulls and seabirds have shrunk or disappeared completely.

Professional and accidental collectors each year have literally collected millions of eggs. Even tiny eggs of the sparrows were considered a great delicacy. Connoisseurs particularly valued the eggs of parrots, ortolans, and skylarks - just like the birds themselves.

The eggs of wild birds were not only eaten. They were also commonly used in the industry – such as dyeing industry, soap industry, leather treatment or the production of fertilizers and feed for the livestock.

After centuries of continuous and relentless exploitation as well as transformation of the landscape the population and the range of European birds have markedly decreased. In the early twentieth century, when Martha, the last on Earth Passenger Pigeon was dying overseas - ornithological map of our continent looked completely different than a hundred, or even a few hundred years earlier. From today's perspective we can still say that in those days there were ... a lot of birds - as well as other animals.

Did the death of Martha teach us anything?
Our little (and great) migrants are in serious trouble - they find it difficult to keep up with the climate change, and the persecution and hunting on the migration routes makes it even more risky. In Mediterranean countries our nightingales, European robins and swallows are being caught on a large scale. It is done with the use of firearms, snares, different traps, nets, birdlimes, electricity, intoxicating fumes or food - often with the use of trapped live birds that serve for a lure. Large birds are like human shields. No wonder that the number of our storks decreased in the last five-years by approx. 10 thousands pairs.

The mosaic of fields, meadows, baulk and groves, so characteristic of our villages disappears in the great rate. It is replaced by a large-scale farming and an extensive monoculture. This diversity, so pleasing to the eye, had a vital importance for many herbs and insects, and all those who depended on them. Those who spend most of their time on the ground must have a lot of luck if they escape and save their life before machines  arrive. In the case of chicks it is a true miracle. Tons of pesticides and herbicides (the former are used to poison insects or rodents, the latter, the so-called weeds) make our fields toxic and deprived of life and thus of the food.

Typical Polish specialty in the recent years is the so-called devastation of the urban landscape. The implications of this go far beyond the aesthetic and cultural aspect. Anti-natural (and anti-climate) parks, squares and home gardens, in the whole country might soon lead to a decline in garden bird population of as much as a half. Meanwhile, we live in times of a big pressure on nature (anthropopressure) that every sparrow and blue tit is now worth its weight in gold. Martha and her tribesmen’s story teach us that in the world ruled by people, even great quantity is not enough to protect the species from extinction. To paraphrase John James Audubon: we have not inherited the world from our fathers, but we have borrowed it from our children.


As long as there are birds, so long there is hope. The rest depends on us.

Be4Birds! Before it’s too late.

Join the National Campaign Be4Birds! Follow the next publication of our cycle. On the 17th of November buy Gazeta Wyborcza with the poster Rare and Endangered Birds.

Are you Be4Birds! with us?- Find out about yourself...

The article in the abbreviated version which was issued in Gazeta Wyborcza on 31st of October 2014 as well as on the portal: gazeta.pl
 ]]>
The magnificent 21 Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:55:10 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/the-magnificent-21 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/the-magnificent-21 noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
Over 100 hotheads registered (majority of candidates came from Pomeranian and Mazovian voivodeship), who in the first phase had to fill in a very complex application form consisting of 57 open-ended question. Filling the application form itself is a sign great motivation to work in aid of nature and of the will to spread the knowledge about nature around.
 
We continued to receive the application forms for a month, then we checked them looking for soft competences such as motivation to perform activities, openness to people and team skills, experience in educational and leadership field. After getting acquainted with all of the forms, we invited over 70 people to the second stage of recruitment (research sessions) which testifies again to the uniqueness of people, who decided to join Be4Birds! campaign.
 
Research sessions were held for 9 days in 5 places in Poland. In Bogdaniec near Gorzów Wielkopolski, in Sopot, in Cracow, Warsaw and in Goniądz on Podlasie.  Every day we observed a different group of people from different regions of Poland. People worked for 4 hours in a team of several people, designing new nature magazine covers, inventing advertising strategy for a new graphical design of the magazine, creating the concept of the Birds of Poland club’s campaign and expanding the partners network of Schools for Be4Birds!
 
Friendly atmosphere, that we tried to introduce in this quite stressful situation for the candidates, supported the creative process and openness to unconventional ideas.  Every day, new and sometimes even innovative concepts of spreading the idea of Be4Birds! advertising slogan were created, such as:
„Potrzymaj ptaka, daj się przelecieć” (Hold the bird, let it ride), „Zasadź ziele”(Grow your weeds), „Posłuchaj lasu” (Listen to the forest), „Zapraszamy do klubów”(Welcome to the clubs), „Uskrzydlamy biznes”( We give wings to the business). (We would like to thank you and we won't hesitate to use them!)
 
We have a difficult choice before us, since we can only choose 21 Regional Leaders. We will make the decision at the beginning of November 2014, that is to say, in less than a week. Apart from the people that will become our regional leaders, we will cooperate for sure with the others. We will use their potential and energy in some other fields of activities supporting nature.
 
We would like to say thank you to all of the candidates for their positive  energy, passion and for infecting us with their sensitivity to Earth and nature.
We also want to say a great thank you to The Eastern Initiative Institute from Cracow (http://iwi.org.pl/) for providing all of the infrastructure that allows to conduct the recruitment workshop in Southern Poland.
 
Soon there will be more information about our leaders - they will be close to you, all across Poland!
 ]]>
Birds of Poland on the Polish Radio. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:10:40 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/birds-of-poland-on-the-polish-radio http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/birds-of-poland-on-the-polish-radio noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
To prove to you that the reportage was really created outdoors, we submitted the photos taken by Ms Anna who is our member.
Do enjoy the listening and we invite you to some other bird walks.
 ]]>
We invite you to documentaries! Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:15:47 +0100 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/we-invite-you-to-documentaries http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/we-invite-you-to-documentaries noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
"Birds are beautiful and inspiring. We can see them every day but usually we do not realize that. Unfortunately, there are less and less of them and they are disappearing faster and faster. Why?
Paweł Pstrokoński and Marcin Siuchno from the Birds of Poland Association will explain it. We invite you to listen to the Third Program of Polish Radio, today at 6:15pm.
 
More details can be found on the Polish Radio website (Polskie Radio). Those who won't listen to the today's documentary, can find it later in the media relations of Be4Birds! campaign.
You can read here about rare and endangered birds.
 
We look forward to hearing from you!
 ]]>
Anna Pilarska Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:40:55 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/anna-pilarska_eng http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/anna-pilarska_eng noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
She is from Mazury and, to be precise, from Gołdap. She graduated from English Philology at the Wrocław University, American studies at the Jagiellonian University. She also completed postgraduate studies for translators of English specialized texts  at the UNESCO department in Cracow. She continuously enhances her knowledge by taking part in communication, project management and corporate social responsibility courses. She forfeited Cracow and joined the Birds of Poland team in order to transform her care for nature into a more active participation. She found passionate people here and a true possibility of development. She helps to protect greater spotted eagles as well as other birds. She finds relief from the stress caused by the uneven fight for the last wild animals’ habitats, in all kinds of sports and the hobby of tracking human traces with her beloved Labrador named Axa.
 
E-mail:    anna.pilarska@ptakipolskie.pl
Telephone number:  +48 784 745 737
 ]]>
Jacek Karczewski Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:40:18 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/jacek-karczewski_eng http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/jacek-karczewski_eng noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Chairman of Birds of Poland Association.
His responsibility ranges from preparing content of and supervising press articles, WWW content, folders and posters, updating educational package, all contents and announcements.
 
Author of many press articles published in, inter alia, Gazeta Wyborcza. He can be also heard on the radio - most often on TOK FM. He has been successful for many years in working in the aid of nature conservation. Many interesting jobs and activities can be found within his rich resume. First of all, he is an experienced trainer and consultant in the human resource management and social communication field. His primary education is psychology. He also studied nature conservation and French.
He is devoted to the idea of nature protection with all his heart. He says about himself: "I am a freak when it comes to birds". Kashubian, most probably born in a goose's nest - despite the fact that Ms Ania (his mother) and official documents deny that. But geese are his favorite birds. Nature expert and hothead. When he talks about birds - his wings rise and sometimes feathers appear in his hair. The only thing that he lacks to be totally happy is "More Time"!
 
E-mail:   jacek.karczewski@ptakipolskie.pl
Telephone number: +48 603 746 737
 ]]>
Protection of Biodiversity Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:35:24 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/protection-of-biodiversity http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/protection-of-biodiversity noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Convention on Climate Change, which purpose is to limit the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is the first international treaty  pertaining the protection and careful use of biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity quickly gained widespread appraisal. Over 150 governments signed the document during the conference in Rio de Janeiro, and since then over 187 governments have ratified the convention.
 
Convention on Biological Diversity – read more here.
 
The entire document may be found here.
 
The main purposes of the Convention:
•        Protection of biological diversity
•        Careful use of the elements of biological diversity
•        Spreading the benefits resulting from commercial or other use of genetic resources in a just and balanced way

The Convention has multiple purposes, and addresses questions of crucial importance to the future of humankind. This makes the convention a milestone in the international law.  It attests, for the first time ever, that the protection of biodiversity is a “common problem of humankind” and that it is an integral part of progress. It includes all ecosystems, species and genetic resources. It also connects traditional protective actions with economic goals, i.e. with the balanced use of biological resources. It describes the rules of fair and just sharing of the benefits resulting from the use of genetic resources, especially pertaining commercial use. In includes also the fast-developing field of biotechnology, addressing the progress and spreading of technologies, sharing of benefits and biological safety. An important fact is that the Convention is legally binding, and the countries that ratified it have to conform to its regulations. The convention includes guidelines based on the rule of caution, which means that, when there is risk of major loss of biodiversity, the lack of definite scientific evidence cannot serve as an excuse to delay actions to reduce such risk. The Convention attests that major investments are required to protect biological diversity, but that such protection may in turn result in major environmental, economic and social benefits.
 
In 2002, the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development took place in Johannesburg. Widely criticized for the lack of solid, binding solutions, it brought about only a few minor regulations, e.g. the agreement to replenish fish stocks until 2015. The Declaration on Sustainable Development was also signed. The governments present agreed however to reduce the rate at which biodiversity is shrinking until 2010.
 
Actions to protect biodiversity in Europe
 
The European Union plays a major role in the protection of biodiversity around the world. In 1998 the European Commission adopted the biodiversity strategy.
 
The entire document may be found here.
 
According to the strategy, four Action Plans pertaining to biodiversity were adopted by the European Union in 2001: preservation of natural resources, agriculture, fishing and economic collaboration.
Presently, the protection of nature and biodiversity is one of the 4 priorities in the abiding, Sixth Environment Action Programme in the European Union (2002-2012). The four priorities included in the plan are:
•        climate change
•        nature and biological diversity
•        natural environment, health and life quality
•        natural resources and waste.

In May 2006 the European Commission adopted the EU Biodiversity Action Plan:
 
Action Plan brochure.
 
The entire document may be found here.
 
The EU Biodiversity Action Plan aims to integrate the issue of protecting biological diversity into other areas of the EU policy. It describes a complex plan of action, its priorities, and responsibilities resting on individual institutions of the Union and member states. It also contains indicators of progress and assessment time-frame. The European Commission prepares annual reports on the advancements in the implementation of the Action Plan.
 
Already in 2001 the European Union declared that it will take actions to stop the decline of biological diversity in the countries of the EU before 2010.
 
In 2002, during the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the governments undertook to slow down the decline of biological diversity before 2010. Additionally, the leaders of EU member states accepted an internal strategy of sustainable development, which regulated the “protection and restoration of habitats and natural systems”. This regulation, concerning the “restoration” of habitats and ecosystems results partly from the resolution that biodiversity in Europe has been gravely impeded, and simply slowing down the decline of biodiversity is not enough. In  light of these regulations, the European Commission commenced a year-long consultation referring to the effectiveness, implementation and adequacy of strategies and action plans on biological diversity. This examination concluded in the Malahide Conference of 2004, held in Ireland. An unprecedented level of accordance to the primary regulations of the resolution could be observed. Unfortunately, we already know that realization of some of the ambitious goals for year 2010 will not be possible, which was pointed out in a report of the European Commission in June 2009. In April 2009 the Commission organized a conference in Athens titled “The Protection of Biodiversity after 2010”, where future strategies for the protection of biological diversity in the EU were considered.
 
See page Countdown 2010.
 
It is a website dedicated to an initiative that aims to promote the protection of biodiversity amongst the citizens of the EU, as regulated by the Union.
 
The environmental policy of the European Union is based on two main binding documents:
•        the Birds Directive and
•        the Habitats Directive.

Both those documents laid the groundwork for the Natura 2000 network. Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas in the European Union, and is aimed the  preservation of species and habitats of special importance in Europe. To support the actions connected to nature conservation, a separate financial instrument was developed in the European Union – the LIFE-Nature fund, which cooperates closely with the Polish National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej (NFOŚiGW)).
 
2010: The International Year of Biodiversity
 
The General Assembly of the United Nations pronounced 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity.

The celebrations of this year will be and occasion to hold an international campaign aimed at raising the level of social consciousness about biological diversity, by directing peoples' attention to the importance of biodiversity to our quality of life, presenting past achievements in the area of environmental protection, and encouraging people to take further actions to stop the decline of biodiversity.

Preserving biological diversity takes a collective effort. Through actions conducted globally, the entire humankind will collaborate to ensure a better future for us, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
 
The International Year of Biodiversity on the page of Ministry of the Environment (Ministerstwo Środowiska).
 
The International Year of Biodiversity official page (Międzynarodowy Rok Bioróżnorodności, in English, Spanish and French).
 
The official film of the International Year of Biodiversity on YouTube.
 
Watch a film about the influence of climate change on the decline of biodiversity.
 
Film “Biodiversity is our life” on YouTube.
 
How can I help? What can I do to help preserve biodiversity?

•        Whenever possible, use public transport or a bike, go on foot or share a car with others (e.g. once a week commute to work with your friends). Try to cut down on air travel.
•        Buy ecological/biodynamic food – such as vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat in the farmers' market. Try to buy food which was produced nearby, to reduce the amount of food miles.
•        Try to eat herbivorous fish from sustainable fishing. Avoid predatory fish from fish farms, such as salmon.
•        Install at least one energy-efficient light bulb in your house – it will reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 1 ton every 3 years.
•        Always turn of the lights when leaving the room.
•        In winter, set your thermostat at 1°C lower.
•        Do not use herbicides and pesticides in your garden or allotment plot. Do not use ready-made, chemical components to care for your lawn.
•        Gather rainwater in a barrel; make a compost box to store organic waste from your garden and kitchen.
•        Tell your family and friends about your efforts to protect biodiversity and convince them to join you. Support people and organizations who aim at preserving nature and biodiversity.
•        Above all, do not waste resources; minimize your consumption, only buy what you need, try to reuse products, and – if not possible – recycle them.

(source: www.countdown2010.net)


You can read more about biodiversity on these sites:

Countdown 2010

EcoFaith

Europejska Agencja Środowiska

GreenFacts

The Guardian

Komisja Europejska

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

The Times

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Wikipedia

]]>
Mobile application - Birds’ voices Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:10:13 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/mobile-application-birds-voices http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/mobile-application-birds-voices noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
Fluttering, clapping and distant squawking – can you imagine what is actually hiding in the shrubberies, branches and high on the trees?
 
From now on you may check out the voices of a blackbird, pipit, geese, lapwings, cranes and many, many more winged friends on your own phone!
 
The birds’ voices may be used for all the notifications and phone alarms.
 
Apart from the bird sounds, the application also contains interesting descriptions of each of the species. You will get to know where they live and what they feed on, but also how they look like – owing to the gallery of colorful pictures taken by Cezary Korkosz.
 
You will find here the birds from our parks, gardens, swamplands and woods.
 
Check it out – learning becomes way easier with the application. It is also good fun during trekking, workshops in the open air, walking in the woods, on a picnic, in a park or urban plaza.
The application may be already purchased in the Google Play shop.
 
Free version!
For those people who will join the Birds of Poland Club – the application will be free with a special bundle for club members.  Welcome and join us!
 
Author: Ewa Stróżniak  Source: Birds of Poland
 ]]>
Social behaviour of birds - Part I Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:15:37 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/social-behaviour-of-birds-part-i http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/social-behaviour-of-birds-part-i noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! movie) they are really effective. After longer attempts most of the intruders do decide to let it go.

The neighbourhood of bustling and resolute gulls is used by other birds – e.g. smaller, Little Terns and Common Terns, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plovers and Ringed Plover; or calmer, e.g. Common Gulls. Therefore the Gull Bird is called an “umbrella species” – other birds use their protection, and its presence contributes to the improvement of overall safety.

Yelling or otherwise - bird mobbing, it is not only the domain of Gull Birds defending their eggs or chicks. Crows mentioned earlier also apply this technique. Their main victims are their rivals and disliked neighbours, normally the birds of prey, such as Sea Eagle, Kestrel, Buzzard or Tawny Owl, but a hit on the head can also be directed at a cousin – Raven. Noticing the passing individual of one of these species results in pickup of almost all crows around. And like the Gull birds, they would scream - beat with wings, strike with beak. They do this, of course, to the bitter end, to irritate the intruder, to scare it away and send a clear message – “Do not hang around here anymore!”.

Defence of the smaller and the weaker can sometimes take the peculiar form. And why not  take  advantage of a bigger and stronger support? White Storks are able to build a spectacular nests measuring more than 1 meter in height and weighing up to 250 kg. Their ready homes are often used by other species of birds - Eurasian Tree Sparrows, House Sparrow, White Wagtails and Common Starlings. They save their time and energy, and having a neighbour of this size protects against unwanted guests. Rumour has it that the neighbours of Storks are often Eurasian Jackdaws and Common Kestrels.

An interesting, though sticky and smelly, form of a common defence is used by Fieldfares. It happens that these sprightly residents of urban parks hatch in colonies of a few dozen nests. The appearance of the Crows and Magpies in the area triggers alarm and implementation of the football adage –“ the best defence is attack”. In this situation, adult fieldfares, in the number of a few dozen, fly over the predator and start bombing… with cocidiosis. Hitting the intruder can - literally - bring him to the ground. Hitting with a dozen piles may result in agglutination of the wings and make the flight impossible. Getting rid of the surprise like that takes usually a significant part of the day and vindictive birds will not easily forget this cannonade.

Is cheating worth it? What is Basic Bird Language? Do birds only work together? We will provide answer to these questions in the second part of the cycle.
 ]]>
Why should we protect nature? Sun, 03 Aug 2014 12:40:41 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/why-should-we-protect-nature http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/why-should-we-protect-nature noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!

Protection of the wildlife for its own sake does not make any sense. For the wildlife nothing is as alien as... its conservation. Destruction is here on the agenda, and the natural ecological disasters are typical phenomena in the history of our biosphere. For example - mass extinctions, like the one from 60 million years ago, or even more so, the Permian–Triassic extinction event when the overwhelming majority of species of living organisms vanished. As a matter of fact, it gave a chance to the new evolutionary lines and new species. By ruining, the nature builds and by building it ruins.


There are no precious, creative goals. Somewhere a lush forest develops, and the volcanic eruption destroys it, somewhere fire turns lush herbs into ash and a herd of wild animals step onto birds’ nests founded on the riverside meadow, as long as they have not yet been washed away by the rise of waters. If you omit the protection of the offspring and members, which is interpreted by socio-biologists like Hamilton or Trivers as a manifestation of selfishness related to genes, in the wildlife no one and nothing is protected. Nature does not have noble - or any other indeed - intentions; it is not seeking any constructive purposes and does not want to preserve anything for future generations. Wildlife conservation is an invention of people, because it is their need.


Nature is both a luxury and a basic good. And this is what differs it from the really luxury goods like good cars, audio-video equipment or dachas. We need to protect the wildlife for the basic as well as luxury reasons. But the first one - as the need of access to clean air and water, appears to be less exciting than the latter. Therefore, those who have already achieved the conventionally understood prosperity focus on them more and the contact with the unspoiled nature and the richness of species or habitats is treated like a luxury, which is worth seeking. If they actually seek nature they often achieve at the same time the basic ecological objectives as well as the pleasant and luxurious ones.


The latter are related to the need to enrich life. Who fights for the basic elements of life, does not have or in any case feel this need because he is weighted down by the monotony of everyday life. The need to add variety to the existence appears when the well-being is improved, and not right away, but with time passing. The complexity of the nature and its relative inaccessibility can perfectly satisfy this need, and make life an exciting adventure. This corresponds well with the currently popular idea of ​​biodiversity. A good illustration of what is being mentioned above is the protection of the Biebrza River and its marshes, and the pace of changes that have occurred in this field. When land improvement was intended in large areas of peat bogs the need to protect was also mentioned - but it was related to the protection of water, so that it won’t go away too quickly, and peat, so that it won’t wilt because it is a valuable resource for agriculture.


Today we talk about the protection of aquatic warbler - a small bird of a sparrow family -  allotting millions of euros for that;  the protection of plants and animals; landscape values; rooted remaining of traditional architecture and even a secondary road, which has become a promenade for elk, wolves , cranes and the lovers of these creatures. These areas are increasingly being settled by those for whom these qualities are an important enrichment of life. They are coming here for various reasons - cognitive, artistic, patriotic or sentimental.


All of this occurred during the transformation of one generation. It is significant that the local people, mostly farmers, who in the bosom of nature for generations fought for the very basic goods, still, even though the spirit of the times has changed, focus their attention on those goods and the conservation of nature is treated as a luxury chimera, sometimes interfering in making a fortune.


And this need of making a fortune, accumulation of fairly basic goods, ostentatious comfort, which they would finally afford, is treated as a natural desire for luxury. Dried meadow more accessible for the machines, house with large number of rooms, lighting of country roads, and asphalt all the way to the gate – this is the goal. Newcomers on the contrary, do not want the asphalt and the lights, they love countryside rut, cottages (yes with comfort!), willows, stork nest in the bypass. And increasingly they want to conserve the wildlife. Not in the name of high ideals. Just for themselves.
 ]]>
World at a Crossroads Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:30:10 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/world-at-a-crossroads http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/world-at-a-crossroads noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! To understand it, sometimes you need to look at it with a bird's eye.
 
We invite you to the Third Convention of the Birds of Poland Club, and particularly to the meeting entitled ‘’World at a Crossroads’’ during which we’ll all try to find an answer.
 
The meeting will be hosted by Marcin Popkiewicz, the author of the bestseller under the same title - an important and interesting book which will certainly satisfy the curiosity of those who hear over and over again about growing economy, increasing GDP and other vague increasing indexes.
 
They have one thing in common - they must be constantly growing.
But until when?
 
When will the financial system experience another crisis? When will we run out of fossil fuels? When will we cut the last rainforest? When will the loss of biodiversity affect us?
It’s already happening.
 
Population trends of 1686 animal species were examined. Nature's Living Planet Index was developed by WWF. It appeared that between 1970-2005 the number of terrestrial species declined by 33%, marine by about 14% and the freshwater fish species by as much as 35%. Over the past one hundred years the number of tigers has fallen by 95%. Not better but maybe even worse fate befell, among others, rhinos, cheetahs and apes. But they are still among the lucky ones.
 
Can you imagine a day on which you’ll see a house sparrow for the last time in your life? Over the last 13 years in the UK, 70% of the sparrows have disappeared. Can you imagine a summer meadow without butterflies?
Almost half of the butterfly species occurring in Europe are threatened with extinction...
 
 
‘’We are facing instability and even the possibility of the collapse of the global economy and financial system based on exponential growth and global debt. The problems of the economy, energy and the environment are so closely related that they should not, or even cannot be solved in isolation."
 
Marcin Popkiewicz - megatrends analyst, the chairman of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas in Poland. Editor-in-chief of the widely read Internet portals devoted to the economy and the climate and the Polish version of "Sustainable Energy." Winner of the ‘’Journalists for the climate 2013’’ and ”Nagroda Dobromira Roku 2013’’ of the Ecological Economic Congress. Experienced trainer, privately a graduate of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, proud father of two children, diver, yacht skipper and cycling enthusiast in one person.
 

We highly recommend!
‘’World at a Crossroads’’ - Marcin Popkiewicz
Friday, 20th June, 18.00, Third Convention of the Birds of Poland Club.
Programme of the Convention ( Program Zlotu. )
How to join the Birds of Poland Club.? ( Jak dołączyć do Klubu Ptaków Polskich? )
 
Subscriptions for the Convention are accepted by Ewa Stróżniak:
ewa.strozniak@ptakipolskie.pl
887 747 737
 
 
The Convention is  organized as part of the National Awareness and Environmental Education Campaign Be4Birds!, third stage, realized with the financial support from the Operational Programme entitled. "Protection of biodiversity and ecosystems,” under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014.
 ]]>
A trail in the sky Fri, 09 May 2014 14:35:09 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/a-trail-in-the-sky http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/a-trail-in-the-sky noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
Looking at the plenitude of their formations in the sky, one cannot help but wonder where those birds came from, where they are going, and – most importantly – what for, since they will be coming back in no time. As usual, the answer is not that simple and straightforward.
 
Let us start from the beginning. An important route for all the birds nesting in the north of the continent runs through Poland. Thousands of geese nesting in tundra and taiga frequent this route every year to make it to their wintering grounds in Western Europe. Amongst those avian travellers, two species dominate: the greater white-fronted goose, and the bean goose. Less numerous is the greylag goose. Regularly, though only from time to time, rare species of geese, such as the lesser white-fronted, the pink-footed, the barnacle, the red-breasted and the brant goose also join in the travel.
 
The migration begins already around the end of August. Earlier on, in July, after the nesting season is over, the birds gather in safer locations (vast swamps and marshes) to moult. Because geese shed all their flight feathers at once, they become incapable of flying, and may travel only after 3-4 weeks.
 
After the moulting is over, the migration begins. Entire families of birds travel together. During their first migration, young birds benefit from the experience and knowledge of their parents. The birds group into flocks and begin the travel west. The journey rarely looks as we imagine it. It is not a quick, continuous, long-distance flight. On the contrary – the birds must often stop for a few days’ rest, during which they replenish their fat reserves (in other words they eat a lot). When they are rested they resume their journey.
 
Such places of rest may be likened to big railway stations. All the time new flocks of birds arrive, while other depart to resume their travel. Those are the places of uninterrupted traffic, noise and bustle. Tens of thousands of geese may be encountered in such places at once, for their locations are not accidental. They must guarantee safety during the rest and plenitude of food – if not in direct neighborhood, then at least in near vicinity. Of course, every migrating goose is in a hurry, and cannot afford to lose precious time and energy. That is why the resting places are most often located in marshes or in large open spaces near lakes and fields, where the geese graze intensively.
 
It may appear strange that the geese migrate together. So many hungry birds in one place means more competition when it comes to finding food. Nevertheless, this fact is compensated by safety. In a flock of hungry geese – when the birds are grazing with their heads down to the ground – some of the geese will always keep watch. Amongst a flock of exhausted, hungry geese, it is always fascinating to see a couple of birds – just as tired and hungry as the others – that watch over the group with their heads up, always ready to alert the other birds of approaching danger.
 
Another advantage of group migration is the economic use of energy during the flight. The V formation is actually a perfectly measured aerodynamic figure, in which every bird flies slightly to the side of the bird in front, thus reducing the drag. This way, flying one behind another, the geese save up energy. Watching a V formation from below, one may observe that the position of a leader is not fixed – from time to time one of the geese flying behind the leader will take over. It is an expression of a sort of equality amongst  geese. The bird in the very front uses up the most energy, and thus gets tired quickly.  Some researchers believe that the strongest birds will always fly at the front, while the weaker, sick or young birds always at the back of the formation – where flying is less tiresome.
 
When the geese are rested, they travel on. They fly both during the day and during the night. How much distance they cover depends on the weather, as well as the condition of the birds. When there is rain or unfavorable wind, the geese are forced to wait, and have to try and make up the distance later on.
 
The migration of geese ends in December, where the birds make it to the wintering grounds scattered all over Europe, including Western Poland. They will not stay long, though, as their return begins already in March.
 
In the springtime the migration is quicker – the Arctic summer in the north will not last long. Adult birds hurry north, while the younger ones lag behind, taking longer rests, and make it to the nesting grounds long after their parents do. During their first independent migration, the younger birds begin to form pairs. Such partnerships may evolve in a long lasting bond that, in the seasons to come, will result in offspring.
 
Migration is one of the most dangerous periods in the life of the birds. Many geese, especially the young ones, will never make it to the wintering grounds. The birds will face many perils. Bad weather – especially if it changes suddenly – can cause the death of entire flocks of birds. And there is more. Predators await the geese at every stop. Hunters will also wait in places frequented by geese for an easy kill. Although the number of geese shot during such hunts is low, the consequences of these hunts may be dramatic. The birds are scared away and forced to continue their journey before they had time to rest. The geese are hunted down all along the route of their migration, and wherever they set down to rest, hunters appear. Many of them will continue their journey with gunshot wounds or, having accidentally swallowed buckshot, with lead poisoning.
 
Beside bad weather, predators and hunters, the birds face other serious obstacles, although admittedly less deadly. The marshes used by the birds for hundreds of generations are being drained, and the areas overgrow with trees and bushes, which provide no food for the geese. This forces the geese to look for new places for rest, results in loss of time and energy and – when the birds crowd together in sparse resting locations – facilitates the spreading of diseases.
 
However, it appears that the geese are coping with these dangers rather well. Their number has remained steady over the years, and even noted a slight increase. Their migrating routes are still crowded, and formations of these birds still appear in the sky to mark the break of spring and winter. It is solely up to us for how long...
 ]]>
It's hard to be a tree in Poland Tue, 18 Sep 2012 10:10:44 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/its-hard-to-be-a-tree-in-poland http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/its-hard-to-be-a-tree-in-poland noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak!  
Oxygen is not all that we owe to trees and their leaves; they rid the air we breathe of dusts and gases. A row of spruces can absorb up to 70% of pollution coming from a busy road. That means the carbon dioxide, emitted soot, or particles of tires released during car travel – so easily deposited in our respiratory tract. They also absorb the omnipresent and vexatious noise, and the vibrations of hundreds and thousands of passing vehicles. They create and stabilize the climate – cool us down in extreme heat, protect from frost, wind and rain. They offer protection to our buildings, gardens, crops, and to us personally. Every one of us can feel the effect of this protection when entering a shady alley during a heatwave. This concerns people travelling in air-conditioned cars just as well as the others. Trees bind the soil, protecting it from landslides and erosion – a function so important in times of sudden rains and floods. They work as live reservoirs, absorbing the excess of water in rainy periods, and releasing it during droughts. Hundreds of litres of water evaporate from one tree in a day.
 
That is not to omit the benefits to our health. They serve us in treating the so-called diseases of affluence – asthma and other respiratory diseases, high sensory sensitivity, neurosis, depression and neoplastic diseases. Their great aesthetic, environmental and cultural value is unquestionable! There are a home to many species of plants and animals.
 
Today, in the face of global climate change and the necessity to reduce carbon dioxide emission, trees are needed more than ever before!
 
It's better to be a tree somewhere else

 
In England, Scotland and Wales, all trees are protected by law since 1947. Their removal, cutting and breaking is by definition forbidden. The lack of proper permits, or improper cutting of trees is punishable by a fine of as much as 2,500 pounds. There were cases, however, when the fine reached 52,000 pounds. In Great Britain, the first person to enter a site of a planned investment, after the surveyor, is a specialist who identifies trees to be preserved, replanted (valuable trees that cannot be preserved must be replanted) or removal. His decision is based on the appraisal of the trees' value, assessment of their chances of surviving the construction, possibility of future growth and... age. The correlation here is very simple: the older the tree, the greater its value, and the more protection it requires.
 
The specialist selects the most rational places for the foundations of buildings on the site (according to ecological and environmental criteria). According to the law, he prepares instructions pertaining the protection of trees and plants during, and after the construction. The developer is obliged to preserve the selected trees (or other plants).  The developer also has to place a security deposit of 50,000 pounds. This way the investment has to match the character and landscape of the site – not the other way around. In case of any deficiencies, the specialist may halt the construction, and apply for the developer to be fined with up to 20,000 pounds (The Tree Preservation Orders, 1994). Such approach does not paralyze the investment, but guarantees the preservation of order in space and landscape, as well as... the levels of oxygen in deoxygenated town areas. However, if anyone should consciously act against the law, he will have to face the consequences. And they are unavoidable.
 
 
Trees more valuable than wood
 
The smarter of us have long understood the benefits the trees offer to our society, especially in urbanized areas. It turned out that those benefits may be measured in money. The Americans thought about it already in 1957. According to present estimates, the value of about 3,8 billion trees in urbanized areas of 48 states of USA is 2,4 trillion dollars. In some cases trees in the streets and parks are the most valuable assets of a given town, or even an entire county. As you can imagine, all of them were carefully taken stock of. The value of each and every one of them has been estimated, and it keeps growing. One of the most important parameters for that is the size of the tree crown measured in m2. It is not surprising – after all, from our social point of view, the leaves that produce oxygen, and that will later enrich the soil on which they fall, are the most valuable part of the tree. In our country, however, leaves are seen as an obnoxious problem to be taken care of.
 
After America, other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain started to appreciate and estimate the value of their trees. In time, other countries followed – including Poland. Only we do it in our own, specific style... We take part in international conferences – we even organize some of them – we sign all the declarations, and we create an elegant, though fictional, reality. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with everyday practice. An average Polish citizen has never heard about those declarations, or the critical importance of trees...
 
At the same time, sensible self-governments in other (more civilized) countries try to outperform each other, inventing better, practical ways to preserve trees in their region. Even better than the ways dictated by their governments. For example, in Vancouver, Canada, all trees with trunk diameter above 20cm, and height over 90cm have to be registered and included on the city map. Damaging trees is punishable by high and inevitable fines. Alleys and plantings are protected all over Europe. Where there are none – new ones are quickly being planted. Germans seem to be leading in this area. Police statistics and research prove that trees growing along the road facilitate the drivers' concentration, positively influence their mood, lower their stress and tension, improve the physical parameters of the road surface (state of the asphalt), and reduce the levels of noise and gas emission. It turns out that it is better to match the driving speed to the road conditions, rather than the other way around – which is hardly surprising.
 
How miserable and shameful by comparison seem all the alleys of old trees being cut down in Poland, which used to grow along the uncongested country roads, or the naked trunks of trees in our landscape, left by the “urban greenery specialists”. How disappointing are the attitudes and competences of our officials and policy makers.
 
 
Trees like wine
 
Groups of older trees, or even individual specimens, belong to the so-called fixed elements of the landscape, which ensure the preservation of its character throughout the ages. Just like old castles, palaces and other human edifices. Remaining in the same place for tens of generations, they define the individuality of their surroundings and their unique character. Apart from their direct benefit for our climate and biodiversity of the region, their raise its environmental and aesthetic value. They create architectural and spatial order, determine communication routes and landmarks, they protect crops, cover what's unwanted, ensure comfort and privacy, facilitate health and well-being of people.
 
It takes generations to be able to enjoy big, beautiful, old trees. They are just like wine – the older they are, the better and more precious they become. But they are so much better than even the oldest wine. They were here long before the wine, and their loss is irreversible. It is not surprising that the value of old trees is more and more appreciated by societies and attested by laws. An example of that may be a court ruling in Virginia (USA) which said that the loss of one ancient oak reduced the worth of a premises where it grew by 15,000 dollars (that is about 10% of the premises' entire worth). Similar rulings can be observed in other countries in Europe. In London, the city trees are appraised on a regular basis, especially in the most affluent neighbourhoods. In Berkeley Square, in the exclusive Mayfair area, the estimated value of plane trees growing there is updated regularly. Recently, the average value of one of the trees was estimated at 700,000 pounds. In Western Europe, it is estimated that the value of lots where trees are growing increased by as much as  27%. Well-known is the positive effect of greenery on the productiveness and quality of work in various workplaces. A surge in the local retail market has also been confirmed in places surrounded by trees. It is common knowledge that beautiful landscapes attract tourists and investments. Unquestionably, cutting down trees does not serve public interest. And yet...
 
 
Cutting off the branches we're sitting on. In dozens.
 
In this respect we are exceptional. We exchange beautiful, old trees in our parks and lots for cypress and cobblestones. We cut down trees in alleys inside, and outside of towns. Trees are exterminated in Poland on a massive scale for no reason at all – systematically and individually. Housing co-operatives, borough and town offices, province marshals, voivodes, and average citizens – they all cut the down! With the exception of the last ones – usually for public money. Against scientific evidence, international conventions, actual needs, common sense and moral responsibility. Cutting down of public good has become a mark of the last decade. We are an exception in Europe and the entire part of the world we wish to identify with.
 
We repeated a well-known pattern: we signed what they asked, we pretend it is all good, but we keep doing whatever we wish in our own gardens.  As if we lived on another planet, breathing a different air, and were not concerned with the problems of the global village. Or rather, global town, considering the climate change, growing levels of air polluting soot and gases, erosions, floods and loss of biodiversity...
 
Since 2004, when the fatal amendment to the act on environmental protection was adopted in Poland, every year we cut down about 500,000 trees! These are most often old trees in town alleys or along public roads. Every year we destroy about 1600ha of forest, ridding ourselves of 3 500 000 000 litres of oxygen per day.
 
To this stuffy picture we should add all the trees which were not included in the statistic above, and which “threatened” our fences, buildings, graves, hands (risks connected to the necessity of raking leaves), or covered a renovated elevation, billboard, street lamp, sun etc. Lastly, it is impossible to overlook the “tree clipping” taking place in all the Polish cities and towns. Some of such “clipped” trees will not last the next 2-3 years, and the majority of them will die soon after. Sometimes there is nothing left after the treatment but a naked trunk growing a couple metres high. “Specialists” call it the “silent witness”. We should add “of ignorance”. Trees in parks and town squares are often butchered in such a way. Ironically, the residents call it “revitalization”.
 
And yet, we're all sitting on the same tree, and we all depend on it to the same extent.
 
 
We encourage you to photograph old trees and alleys. Maybe their beauty, joined together with your artistic sensitivity and talent will help us to save at least some of them. To them we dedicate our cyclical contests for The Most Beautiful Tree, and the Most Beautiful Alley. Another edition starts in spring.
Grab your camera and go for a walk!

 
Author: Jacek Karczewski  Photo: Marcin Nawrocki
 ]]>
The study of knowledge and attitudes towards Nature. Tue, 23 Aug 2011 09:25:41 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/the-study-of-knowledge-and-attitudes-towards-nature http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/the-study-of-knowledge-and-attitudes-towards-nature noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Ogólnopolskie badanie wiedzy i postaw wobec Przyrody oraz idei jej ochrony wśród Urzędników decydujących o sprawach ochrony środowiska i przyrody").

June 2011
 ]]>
Study of attitudes and opinions of teachers ... Tue, 23 Aug 2011 09:10:50 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/study-of-attitudes-and-opinions-of-teachers http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/study-of-attitudes-and-opinions-of-teachers noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Ogólnopolskie badanie postaw i opinii Nauczycieli przyrody i biologii")

June 2011]]>
Why Be4Birds? Tue, 05 Oct 2010 11:35:36 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/why-be4birds http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/why-be4birds noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Why Be4Birds?
 
Birds are our neighbours! We see and hear them everyday- even if we don’t realize it. The variety of their colours, sounds, ideas for life and finally species is also remarkable. They have been present in our lives, practically since forever, not only in parks, gardens or households but also in our traditions and cultures: folk-lore, heraldry and etymology of our surnames, literature and poetry, and finally arts. Birds symbolize purity, freedom, open space and dreams. Finally, not only do they sing beautifully, but they are also admired for the way they look. We want to use all of this information in our campaign in order to draw your attention and to Be4Birds!
 
The practical aspect is also important to us. Birds have been recognized by the European Commission as an environmental quality indicator – which in particular indicates the quality of life of the Europeans. The conservation of certain species and their habitats has become one of the EU’s priorities.
 
Even though, people have always been drawn to birds more than to any other earthly creatures, the birdwatching phenomenon (and consequently the protection of their life and their habitats) has become a national priority in recent years. In some cases, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we say there are large-scale social movements consisting of millions of birdwatchers – people who observe birds. Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway are among leaders in this field. You will only find higher numbers of birdwatchers in the USA and Canada.
 
All of this means that birds could be great ambassadors of the ‘green revolution’ in Poland. Why shouldn’t Poland join the world’s leaders for birds’ conservation? Birds are worth it – if we want to save them, we need to act now because their numbers are already low and they are vanishing at an increasing pace.
 
Life without birds wouldn’t be possible and it wouldn’t make sense either.
Let’s Be4Brids!
 ]]>
Why Be4Birds! Campaign? Sun, 03 Oct 2010 12:20:43 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/why-be4birds-campaign http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/why-be4birds-campaign noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Why campaign Be4Birds!?
 
And this is exactly what biodiversity is all about - The miracle of life on Earth. We are flying into space and we are dreaming of walking on the Moon - meanwhile the real "space", full of life as if it was "out of this world", can be discovered in our home garden (if it is a life-friendly garden) or during "usual" walk in a riparian forest (if we are lucky enough to find one those days).
Whilst we, contemporary people, gazing at each other and at the universe - we lose contact with Earth. Our paradise, in our hands, becomes Paradise Lost.
 
WWF, one of the leading wildlife conservation organizations in the world, created Living Planet Index. Trends in the population of 1686 Earth species were investigated. It turned out that in the years 1970 - 2005, the number of land species decreased by 33%, salt water – by 14% and fresh-water - as much as by 35%. Over the last one hundred years, the number of tigers at large dropped by 95%. Certain subspecies are completely extinct. Population of Atlantic bluefin tuna dropped by 85%.
 
In the meantime many species irretrievably disappeared - including passenger pigeons. Probably, it was the most numerous bird species that had ever lived on Earth. Its population was counted in billions. Its total extermination took only tens of years. They were all killed "for fun", for food and as food for pigs. In Poland Western capercaillie, Greyhens, European rollers, Ferruginous ducks, Fish hawks, just to name a few, are diminishing. Even sparrows and swallows are becoming more rare. Fate of big predators like lynx, lupus or bear is obviously so difficult and uncertain, that we won't even mention it here.
 
In Poland, as well as all over the world, the greatest threat for the survival of species is the human activity. We are changing the climate - and we will discover dramatic consequences of it in the future. However, we can already see sings of it. We are destroying the living space of plants and animals (habitats). We hunt, catch and trade them - and the more endangered the species is, the bigger profit it brings on a black market. Finally, we kill "for sport" and for trophies or we exterminate in large numbers for fear of rivals. We often kill to satisfy the peculiar culinary tastes of few people. The often justification is tradition. And we don't remember that in the past, for example in Poland, people traditionally hunted for aurochs and recently for great bustard. Nowadays, we can't keep any of those traditions. Aurochs are nowhere to be seen. There are no more great bustard in Poland. Apart from Poland, there are no more than 30 thousand throughout the world. However, they can consider themselves "lucky" because there are species whose world population can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Will they "make it”? Not without our help!
 
The history and culture of almost every country and nation is full of such "traditions" that are dead now. Unfortunately, they always lead to the extinction of species - unique and splendid line of life. It is estimated that we have at least by 1/3 less bird species than at the time before we colonized Earth.
 
Scientists estimate that climate change and other factors will have caused the extinction of even one million plant and animal species by year 2050. Only in Europe we can lose 50% of all bird species. Not to mention other animal groups and wild plants. And not to mention other parts of the world...
 
UN declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. We know now, that loss of biodiversity is the greatest threat for Earth - including human civilization.
We also know now, that the most urgent task at the moment is to stop the extinction process of life on Earth - that is- the protection of biodiversity.
 
The European Commission issued a special announcement and committed all member countries to undertake all the necessary steps to stop the process of losing biodiversity until the year 2010 and in the following years.
 
Biodiversity on Earth is in great crisis. This crisis became deeper over the recent years. Meanwhile, life on this planet is connected in most remarkable combinations. Life on earth doesn't look like a Christmas tree, on top of which sits a human - "The crown of creation". This is a very men-favoring, convenient and anthropocentric point of view.
 
Meanwhile, a great coil, unbelievably raveled strand is a better image of life and mutual relations. All elements of this vortex interpenetrate with one another and they are all directly or indirectly connected - they depend on each other. Apparently – there is no point looking for logic and structure in it. Naturally - there is no doubt that they are there - especially logic! However, the enormity of mutual relations is almost as infinite as universe.
 
It doesn't matter if we talk about (still) vast rainforests in the Amazon valley, or a small mid-field refuge among Mazovian fields. Finally, everything and everybody on Earth are connected with one another. Nowadays, every piece of nature and every being is important.
We can never be sure what will happen, when we cut out one fragment of this earthly life ravel. We don't know in which way another cut out, that we still dare to do will influence the remaining parts of the "coil" or the whole structure... Usually it causes a chain reaction and we only just learn on our own mistakes. Some of those cannot be corrected and this is dramatic.
 
Fate that now meets others - can become ours. Finally, life on earth will manage to prevail without us - we cannot prevail without life on earth.
 
The good news is that the issue still depends on us. However, it won't last forever, maybe not for long but there is still time today: for co-responsibility, cooperation and for a moral choice.
 
Let us Be4Birds!
 
Before It’s too late.
 ]]>
Be4Birds! offer Sun, 03 Oct 2010 12:20:03 +0200 http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/be4birds-offer http://jestemnaptak.pl/artykul/be4birds-offer noreply@jestemnaptak.pl (Jestem na pTak!) Jestem na pTak! Be4Birds! offer – so what  could we do together?
 
In order to get our message across we had to break through the ubiquities of communication noise full of other messages – usually presented with more intensity and perceived as more important.
 
We relied on a variety of media and channeling tools, as well as on synergy resulting from the engagement and support from both individuals and institutions. The impact of the Be4Birds! campaign is a result of the unprecedented scope, artistic values and finally the ‘surprise effect’ of the topic itself.
We believe that the Be4Birds! initiative will become embedded in Polish social life. We also hope it will increase our knowledge, influence our beliefs and attitudes and, of course, that it will make us more Be4Birds!
 
The below are the most important and interesting activities within the Be4Birds! campaign – you are welcome to join us now or any time soon:
  • We have carried out the first time ever nationwide opinion poll on knowledge base, attitudes towards nature and its conservation. The poll was carried out by CBM Test company.
  • We have created an interactive website Be4Birds! (Be4Birds!: www.jestemnaptak.pl), which provides the latest information about the campaign, topics raised, events taking place and all sort of activities carried out. The website serves as a journalistic platform and provides background information. 
You are also welcome to join our discussion forums and see our photo gallery. You are welcome to read handbooks and guidebooks provided. You can also visit other related websites/ visit our partners’ and friends’ websites. There’s a lot going on here and we will gradually add more and more. Be4Birds website is managed by e-direct.
  • One of the attractions on our website is our online book - ‘See the BIRD’ (Zobacz pTAKa!). It is a guide to birds, suitable for beginners as well as more advanced learners. This time, however, we didn’t focus on the size of the beak or the layering of the tertials (also known as tertiary flight feathers). We did so, not because it is less important, but because we wanted to present birds, their personality traits, habits and the way they deal with different aspects of their day-to-day existence.
We even decided not to include illustrations in our guide (a common feature of most guides). We would like you to notice birds around you – perhaps for the first time. We hope, however, that this will be the beginning of a fascinating adventure. And one last thing: in our guide we talk about ordinary birds, the birds you see in your garden or when you walk in the park, but we didn’t forget about the rarest and the most mysterious ones, which we will cover in chapter ‘Lucky for us’ (Na szczęście). Until the end of 2010, we will be introducing new species every week. It starts in May when we will introduce the magpie, the jay and the owl or should we say Ms Magpie, Ms Jay and Mr Owl, who are the main characters of the outdoor campaign. It’s worth adding that our guide and other publications use capital letters for the names of the species. We would like to explain at this stage that this is not because we are ignorant or have made a mistake – it’s our choice.
Renia Bartek is the guide’s illustrator and Jacek Karczewski is the author of the text.
  • The outdoor campaign Be4Birds! will be launched in the spring of 2010 and will be displayed on billboards and bus stops in several major cities and agglomerations in the country ( Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Kraków, Lublin, Poznań, Szczecin, Trójmiasto, Warszawa, Wrocław, Górny Śląsk and adjacent area). In total, 530 posters with Ms Jay, Ms Magpie and Mr Owl will tell us that not only we share our lives but are also very similar and have a lot in common. It’s a shame that us, humans are often too busy and don’t have time (nor the willingness) to notice this. We hope our campaign will change this.
Those of you who won’t be able to visit any of the above places, can see the posters right now on your computer screens. The Be4Birds! campaign was implemented in cooperation with AMS. Photographs used in the campaign are courtesy of Jan Kriwol, photographer at Summer76 photo agency. Designed by 1976 ad.
  • You can also hear about us on the radio or TV. We are supported by TOK FM radio, but you can also hear about us in local radio stations in Podlasie and on TV Białystok. It’s also up to you if any other stations will broadcast stories about us, so please join us.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins campaign is implemented with support from our media partner and it is available on www.jestemnaptak.pl website. Seven Deadly Sins is a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used to educate and instruct Christians, but the theme is not limited to Christianity only. We will talk about wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. Each of those environmental sins will be discussed in detail, but please don’t be disheartened. We will give you some tips on how to redeem your sins and make up for them. Be4Brids! campaign plays a constructive role and stands for positive thinking. Just Be4Birds! and the world around you will be a better place to live.
  • Be4Birds! Garden – this campaign is addressed to all those who either possess gardens, plots or parks, both urban and rural. This initiative is being implemented through the Be4Birds! Garden, a competition to convert your garden into a more eco-friendly (or birds-friendly) one.You can enter the competition with your back gardens. We also strongly encourage cities and villages to nominate parks in their area. Winners will receive great prizes. Through your gardens you will be supporting biodiversity initiative in Poland and, consequently, you will contribute to the protection of biodiversity on the entire Earth. The more of such gardens, the better. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a whole network of eco-friendly gardens – a network that would play a vital role in preserving the common heritage of mankind – nature. All appropriate details, guides and even complete garden designs will be provided for any interested participants. You can also talk about your gardens and everything related to them on a specially designed forum also available on our website. You are welcome to join us and have fun! For more information, please see our terms and conditions – it’s only one click away.
  • Be4Birds! School – this campaign is addressed to all schools, students and undergraduates, teachers and lecturers. This initiative is being implemented through two different competitions. The first competition is for the most bio-diverse school shelter for animals, and the second one is for the best lesson about how to halt the loss of biodiversity. The first one refers to the Be4Birds! Garden – where we are trying to build a whole network of eco-friendly oases in a growing landscape of concrete. The latter one refers to developing interests of young people and building the best school laboratory for a school. It will be the best because, it will be open all year and it will be nearly cost-free. Besides, is there anything more important than saving our planet? An animal shelter at the schoolyard or a Be4Birds! Garden fit the purpose! Participants are provided with substantive support – a special forum, book guides and complete animal shelter designs – all available on our website. You are welcome to join us and have fun! For more information, please see our terms and conditions – it’s only one click away. Winners will receive fantastic prizes, including entrance to nature workshops in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the country. The Be4Birds! School initiative is being implemented in partnership with The State Forests National Forest Holding.
  • We have also thought of those of you who no longer go to school and those without gardens, because we all want to learn something new and have fun at the same time. Therefore, we would like to invite everyone to take part in three nationwide photography competitions: Poland from a Bird’s Eye view (Polska z lotu pTAKa!), The Most Beautiful Polish Tree (Konkurs na Najpiękniejsze Polskie Drzewo) and The Most Beautiful Polish Avenue ( Konkurs na Najpiękniejszą Polską Aleję). Winners will receive fantastic prizes. For more information, please see our terms and conditions below. All competitions are organized in partnership with our media partners.
  • We have also prepared a special event for all those of you with a different kind of bird connection… Bociany, Kulczykowie, Sowy and Sowińscy, Kulikowie and Kulikowscy, Bąkowie, Wrońscy, Wójcikowie, Szczygłowie, Wróblewscy  and everyone else with a bird-related surname are hereby invited to become a member of ‘Birds of Poland’ Club. But that is not all, we would also like to invite all those whose surnames are somehow related to nature, from the Kwiatkowscy to Wilkowscy. You are welcome to join us! We need you to become actively engaged for the benefit of ‘our’ national birds and for us all. Be4Birds! before it’s too late.  
  • Our periodic Birds of Poland conventions are very special member-only events. They are an opportunity to see a new corner of the country and explore its nature. In the future we will take you to the Warta River Mouth National Park and the Słowiński National Park, but the inaugural Birds of Poland gathering will take place in Goniądz at the Biebrza River from 4th to 6th June 2010. We will be showing you films and presentations and we will meet the authors, we will organize art workshops, trips and field workshops; we will listen to concerts and we will eat delicious food. You can expect a great atmosphere accompanied by a magnificent landscape. We will also try to set a Guinness World Record by creating an enormous stork made of people. This all will be possible thanks to the support of the town of Goniądz, School Complex in Goniądz and Suchowola and Biebrza National Park. The Birds and all those whose surnames are somehow related to nature and all those who would like to get involved and to know more about Birds of Poland, the events and the campaign are all welcome to join us!
  • Be4Birds! Everyday’ is our limited collection of postcards. We launched this series to commemorate the campaign, and we hope that thanks to this initiative none of the 7 birds used in the postcards will ever become as scarce as hen’s teeth in our landscape. We have been able to publish the Be4Birds! everyday collection thanks to collaboration with the Polish Post – branch in Gorzow Wielkopolski . You can also view the collection here.
  • Be4Birds! publications are the reference materials which accompany our campaign. Our publications are varied, informative, and educational with a simple design. You can see them all on our website.
They are:        
  • Be4Birds! Garden guide,
  • complete eco-friendly garden designs,
  • Guides to bio-diverse school shelter for animals, comprehensive, with instructions on how to build one,
  • A legal guide,
  • Be4Birds dictionary,
  • An online ‘See the Bird’ guide,
  • Be4Birds! everyday postcard collections,
  • Be4Birds Map.
 
Nearly all of them are in an electronic format, ready to be downloaded or printed. Another thing worth noting is our campaign’s poster, showing birds from our gardens and parks, designed by Renia Bartek and used as an insert by our media partner. Last but not least, our Be4Brids! publication list is indicative and non-exhaustive and open to any suggestions and proposals. You are welcome to join us!
  • Be4Birds! exhibition will be organized at the end of our campaign and will also be available on our website. The exhibition will include all the winning works that have taken part in our competitions. We will also have a chance to present the achievements of our campaign in relation to the protection of biodiversity including birds. You are also welcome to contact us if you are interested in hosting this exhibition.
  • Be4Birds! partnerships contains a list of friends and partners as well as company names and addresses – to find out more, please go to ‘our friends’ tab. Implementing this campaign wouldn’t be possible without their support. Similarly – same support and engagement is needed to protect nature and it is only possible when we all get involved.
We would like to thank our partners and friends. We would also like to thank You and hope that you will join us! Let’s Be4Birds! The more of us, the better for all of us!
 ]]>