Our planet is 71% water, supporting every ecosystem imaginable. Water is life. It doesn’t matter what other elements you have; nothing survives without water for long. Water is fundamental to life on our planet. The vast majority of migratory birds rely on aquatic ecosystems during their life cycles. Inland and coastal wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, and ponds are all vital for feeding, drinking, or nesting, and also as places to rest and refuel during their long journeys.
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Thousands of species of birds have adapted over time to incorporate water as part of their living arrangements. Including the birds of Istanbul and Havre de Grace. Did you know that Istanbul is known as the city of Seagulls, as it is home to 13 different species? The generic name for these kinds of birds is, water birds, which is a very loose catch-all for a vast array of species; some only use it to refer to birds who inhabit freshwater ecosystems, whereas others will include seabirds and other inhabitants of marine environments.
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Unfortunately, aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened around the world and so are the migratory birds that depend on them.
The increasing human demand for water, as well as pollution and climate change, are having a direct impact on the availability of clean water and the conservation status of many migratory birds. As the unpredictable effects of climate change march on across the world around us, each and every one of these water bird species faces a greater challenge than ever before. The warming of our earth is having an impact on biodiversity which is key to the stability of the ecosystems such as forests, rivers, grasslands and coral reefs, birds that we rely on for ecosystem services – food, arable land, clean air and water. Losing species is the same as taking bricks out of wall, one by one – eventually, the wall will collapse, the ecosystem will die. To humanity, the collapse of ecosystems means loss of fisheries, fertile land and drinkable water. This will impact the cyclical nature of bird migration with varying migration periods in the northern and southern hemispheres.
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Havre de Grace Maritime Museum & Environmental Center Director Jennifer Sim explained, "Havre de Grace and our museum are located at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, where the Susquehanna River flows into the Bay. We see bald eagles, osprey, and blue heron nearly every day. This area is a hot spot for migratory birds passing through at different times of the year." Havre de Grace is a year round bird sanctuary. There are Cerulean Warbler in spring and summer, Yellow-throated, Kentucky, and Prothonotary Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, and Warbling Vireo, and terns and gulls in vast numbers. As fall edges toward winter, there are a steady influx of Bald Eagles. Migrants in September include warblers, Chipping Sparrow, thrushes, flycatchers, woodpeckers, Ovenbird, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Carolina Wren, Indigo Bunting, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Red-tailed Hawk, night-herons, and Great Blue Heron.
For this reason, Sim says that the museum is pleased to exhibit an art show “Rebirth of Waterbirds” which will be open from April 29, 2023 until May 21, 2023, featuring prints of original mixed media paintings of Gunsu Saracoglu, an artist, author, curator, editor, and TV producer whose work is featured prominently in Europe and the Middle East. She paints and makes her digital art in her atelier/workshop in Istanbul, Turkey.
Jennifer Sim, Bruce Russell and Leslie Kaufman
Lately Saraçoğlu has focused her work on depicting the unprecedented wild fires and natural disasters including the great earthquake of Turkey and its impact on birdlife.
As part of this year's World Migratory Bird Day campaign, Saraçoğlu’s art show at Havre de Grace Maritime Museum and Environmental Center focuses on the topic of migratory birds by highlighting the importance of water for these species and identifying key actions for protecting water resources and aquatic ecosystems that support bird life.
For more information about the artist and her work: www.gunsusaracoglu.com
We should take better care of the earth
The end of water means the end of human life and the planet
Everyone must work to protect the ecosystem