Audubon Adventures

When you think of water, what comes to mind? We drink it, clean with it, and cook with it. We spray it on our yards, gardens, and crops. We get food from it, use it for transportation, and play in it. Animals and plants need water to survive and grow, and some live in it, too. Water is part of our weather. It’s a simple fact: Life on Earth could not exist without water. It’s also a fact that clean fresh water is a limited resource.

What’s a Waterbird?

Common Loon

There is a big group of birds called “waterbirds.” Those are birds that swim, dive, or wade in water and depend on watery places to find food and raise their young. Their bodies are adapted for life in and around water. They include web-footed birds like ducks and geese, and long-legged wading birds like herons and egrets. For those birds, lakes ponds, rivers, streams, and swamps define their lives.

There’s a lot of water on our planet, but only a tiny amount of it is the fresh water that people, animals, and plants need. It is reused over and over again. It evaporates from rivers and lakes, forming clouds in the sky, then falling as rain or snow. Water from most homes flows to a water treatment plant where it is cleaned so we can use it again.

But enough clean fresh water is often not available when and where it is needed because of pollution and droughts—long periods when there is very little rain or snow in a particular place.

We can all take action every day to use less water and prevent water pollution. When we do that, we help ourselves, each other, and all the living things on Earth.

In fact, people and other living things all share the same large habitat: Planet Earth. And just as people can cause problems on Earth, we are also very good at working individually and together to solve them. That’s the best way to make sure that all living things have a chance to be at home in a healthy habitat.




Photos: (t to b) Zachary Webster/Audubon Photography Awards, 2015 Youth Winner; Yvonne L. Massie/Audubon Photography Awards; Toyota TogetherGreen.