A recent column by Herb Wilson, “Birding: Unusual sightings spice up the summer” (Page C7, July 9), highlighted the connection we all share to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This remote wilderness in Alaska is critical breeding habitat for hundreds of species of migratory birds and waterfowl.

Every spring birds travel to the Coastal Plain to build their nests and raise their young through the summer months before returning south in the fall.

Many of these birds pass through Maine. As the column said, the recent sightings of a snowy owl and drake king eider are unusual as both these species should be in the Arctic at this time of year. These beautiful birds remind us that it is important for us to protect all their critical habitat, both local and afar.

I am asking for the Maine delegation to stand together in D.C. against any attempts to open the Coastal Plain to oil and gas exploration potentially in the upcoming budget bill and irreparably harm this wild and important ecosystem.

John Bernard

South Portland