Monday, February 7, 2011

A 12-year-old pitches 4 reasons the blue heron should be state bird

Yes, it's a busy year with major budget issues to sort out. But sometimes even our Ways & Means Chair gets pitched an idea that might seem an unimportant matter to most of us but means the world to at least one person.

In this case, that one person is Eva. She's a 12-year-old student from Bellevue who wrote to Rep. Ross Hunter that it's time we pass the title of "State Bird" on to the blue heron. She wrote:

Dear Representative Hunter,
Two years ago in 2009, I made a proposal to change the state bird from the Goldfinch, to the Great Blue Heron, however the deadline for introducing new bills had already occurred. I would like to renew my argument in hopes it will not be too late for the 2011 session:
  1. I see the goldfinch on some occasions, but I think the Great Blue Heron is more common.
  2. No other state has the Great Blue Heron. Two other states (Iowa and New Jersey) have the goldfinch for their state bird.
  3. The Great Blue Heron is found all over Washington, it would be the bird for the entire state, not just part of it.
  4. The goldfinch became the state bird in 1951; it is probably time to change it.
Please reconsider this proposal,

Thus, HB 1817 was born, with sponsors from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the state. Hunter says these kinds of bills provide an excellent civics education for students like Eva for only take a few minutes of a legislator's time.

The bill, however, isn't without some controversy. Hunter has heard from lifelong birdwatchers who argue that the Goldfinch is not only an asset to the entire state, it also provides a special "ornithological lesson about supply and demand" because the Goldfinch waits to nest until later in the season than most birds when the seeds they eat are more plentiful.

(Photo: Mike Baird on Flickr)