A look at environmental decay and preservation--illuminated by the story of the declining songbird populationsEach spring, millions of songbirds and migratory birds leave the rain forests of Central America for the foothills of the Appalachians, the Great Lakes, New England, and the edge of the Rockies. Traveling in mixed flocks of several hundred thousand, they fly virtually non-stop to their summer destinations. These migrations are one of the most spectacular events in the natural world. As they travel, the birds help spread the seeds of plants, pollinate flowers and hold exploding populations of insects in check. The birds, in turn, are feed for countless others. Recently, however, their rich contribution has begun to diminish. Over the past fifteen years or so, songbird populations in the eastern United States have declined by as much as fifty percent.In a book that as much about the songbirds as it is about the larger issue of environmental decay, Kenneth Brown reveals what happens when the habitats and forests that these birds rely on for food and rest begin to fall prey themselves: to development, suburban sprawl, deforestation, acid rain, and other environmental problems. Following the birds' travels across the continent, The Miner's Canary explores the troubling signs of a widespread decline among not just birds, but a host of other animals and plants.