Since February happens to be National Bird-Feeding Month, here’s some food for thought: 432 of all 1,154 bird species in North America need “urgent conservation action,” according to a 2016 report from the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. That means a third of all the kinds of birds on the continent could disappear unless we take major steps to protect them.
That’s one of many things you can learn from the Iowa Bird of Mouth project, which Iowa Artist Fellow Jennifer Knox hatched last summer to encourage people to pay more attention to all the birds that flit in and out of our lives every day. The project lives on a website where folks can write poems about a new bird each month, like October’s Ring-necked Pheasant or this month’s Northern Cardinal.
Jennifer has published work in the New York Times, The New Yorker and American Poetry Review, teaches at Iowa State and runs a small spice business, called Saltlickers, on the side. (Mixing the right amounts of ginger and oregano is “really like balancing a poem,” she told the Register last year.)