Katrina Leaves Birds Homeless

Since Hurricane Katrina you may be asking yourself, where have all the birds gone?

That's exactly what the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society is wondering.

Next month members say they plan to do a major count of our area's bird population but the preliminary results don't look so good.

Now there's an effort to save the birds that are left.

Hammers banging against nails isn't all that pleasant a sound, but the music made when birds sing is.

It's what 13-year-old Daphne Carroll says she's missed since Hurricane Katrina.

"We live out in the woods. When the birds sing it's really pretty and relaxing, but they haven't been singing a lot," said Daphne.

"Operation Backyard Recovery" takes fallen fence posts and gives them new uses as birdhouses.

The Mississippi Coast Audubon society says by destroying so many trees, Katrina created a housing shortage for birds."

"Some of the birds that do use this area over the winter are not finding the places that they used to find because the trees are all destroyed," said Reed. "This is going to provide them so kind of habitat over the winter so they can stay warm and dry."

Audubon Society members say they're getting somewhat discouraged as they go looking for Wren, Woodpeckers, and other birds.

"The situation is not so great. We've lost a lot of habitat and that's a problem," said Reed. "We're going to be doing a Christmas bird count next month and that's going to tell us something about numbers are they up or down from the years past. It's not good. Every time we go on a field trip, we're not seeing the numbers that we saw before."

A Pass Christian science teacher, Reed is seeing a new environmental awareness among her students.

"Most of the kids in the Pass Christian area are homeless. They are living in FEMA trailers. About 80 percent of our students and 80 percent of our teachers, so the kids are becoming aware that other creatures also have the same problems that they're having. They're excited about it. They're excited about providing a home for them."

In addition to putting up birdhouses, Operation Backyard Recovery encourages people to feed the birds and plant back native species of bushes and trees that were destroyed in the storm.

The Audubon Society says without taking a proactive approach over time some bird species could dwindle or become extinct.