Prove your humanity

Kenny Cooper| WHYY

Birders and bird enthusiasts in Media Borough near Philadelphia are humming with programs since the town received its ‘Bird Town’ designation earlier this month. The first item on the agenda is engaging residents to think differently about their winged neighbors.

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“Towards that end, we, the Bird Town volunteers, are organizing in partnership with several other neighboring Bird Town chapters an educational program all about owls that will be held on February 25th right in Media,” said Kelsey Stanton-Murphy, a volunteer with Media’s Bird Town initiative.

She said the event at the Media Community Center will feature a speaker from the National Audubon Society and a live owl ambassador. The borough is also encouraging residents to participate in the 27th annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

“We’re hoping that the community can feel proud that the borough cares about the habitat within its boundaries — and maybe awaken a little bit of curiosity,” Stanton-Murphy said.

Last fall, Borough Council adopted a resolution establishing its commitment to protect avian species within its boundaries.

Julie Smith, an ad-hoc member of the borough’s Environmental Advisory Committee, said the push came from the realization that the area’s birds are struggling and officials needed to address issues such as window collisions, habitat loss and the impact of pesticides on bird food sources.

“I feel like the world has just become disconnected from nature and the more resources we have the better,” Smith said.

The borough worked for months to draft an application to Bird Town Pennsylvania after receiving encouragement from a neighboring township. The organization, which operates under the umbrella of the Pennsylvania Audubon Council, recently presented borough officials with a signed certificate on Feb. 2.

“We’re going to be able to implement more strategies and more educational advances in our community to help our birds,” Smith said.

This move follows Media’s certification as a Bee City in June 2022. The borough has also been a Tree City for the past four decades.

“What we’re hoping anyway is that these initiatives can work together to achieve goals that are greater than the sum of their parts,” Stanton-Murphy said.