Bye-Bye Birdie

230 Avian Species on the National Watch List




Scientists from 23 organizations, including the federal government, universities and conservation groups, have spent years on the State of the Birds Study, looking at 230 species of birds from different habitats compiling its watch list. Peter Marra, a migratory bird specialist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo, in Washington, D.C., attributes the population drops of the birds in the most trouble to disappearing habitat or reduced range.

Some coastal birds are doing better, and previously endangered wetland birds are recovering due to laws that are protecting them. Marra says, “These populations come back when we create the habitat. The report emphasizes that it’s better to focus on birds that aren’t yet in decline and keep them that way.”

Ken Rosenberg, a bird biologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York, and an author of the report, says that hunters, as well as conservationists, deserve credit for preserving ducks. He acknowledges, “We’ve put a tremendous amount of resources and money into wetland and waterfowl conservation because of the hunters that contribute financially.”

But lots of songbirds are in trouble, and Florida, where bird habitat is disappearing fast, is a crucial stopover for migrating birds. It’s the kind of place that birds both common and endangered urgently need to survive.


Source: National Public Radio

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