Bakersfield proudly boasts of having a professional ice hockey team named the Condors. Bakersfield Christian High School and Veterans Elementary School chose the Eagles as their mascot. These are iconic birds of our area, symbolic of strength and endurance. However, the real birds are threatened, not by other birds or by being hunted, but by what they eat.

Long ago we decided that lead was a toxic chemical and we removed it from our paint and from our gasoline. This gives the age-old idiom "Get the lead out!" a new meaning. This year, Assembly Bill 711 can take this idiom to a new and needed level.

Since birds of prey eat other animals and are scavengers, how their food source died is important. AB 711, currently being discussed in the legislature, requires that non-lead ammunition be used throughout the state. This does not require manufacturers of ammunition to find other metals for ammunition; they already exist, from copper to steel. No, the legislation is not on that "slippery slope" toward abolishment of hunting. As a matter of fact, hunting plays a vital role in providing carcasses for eagles and condors. Our earlier ban on leaded gasoline did not stop us from driving cars nor did unleaded paint cause paint manufacturers to go out of business.

Contact your state legislators and let them know that a safe diet is good for both us and birds.

Kern Audubon Society