October 18, 2022 I am so sad. I keep reading research about how many of our bird species’ populations are declining. But, I never knew just how dire the situation is for our local feather babies and feathered friend worldwide. A combined study published in Science (#BringBirdsBack) reports that we have lost 1 in 4 birds, or a staggering 2.9 BILLION birds since 1970 and the downward trend is continuing. (Cornell University). The Smithsonian reports that 529 species or more than HALF of U.S bird populations alone are shrinking. (Oct. 12, 2022) Mass Audubon says our own state bird, the Black-capped Chickadee is projected to decline in numbers by 30% by 2050. Most people simply don’t realize that the situation is dire or assume it is not impacting their area. I get that I am bird-obsessed, but I can’t fathom that people could know this is happening and just not care.
This sad news also relates to the growing climate crisis we are experiencing. According to Ken Rosenberg from Cornell Lab of Ornothology, “These bird losses are a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife”. All of our different landscapes, or biomes, are experiencing a pervasive loss of birds. The researchers say that forest and grassland habitat loss is driven by building and agricultural growth has drastically decreased these bird populations. Which birds are declining? Well, 2 of the species that are just returning to our area now are among the impacted species. The Dark-eyed Junco or Snowbird population is “down by 168 MILLION birds” and the White-throated Sparrows are “down by 93 MILLION” birds. Many consider the Red-winged Blackbirds a sign of spring. These beautiful birds are also down by 92 MILLION birds, a staggering 1/3 of their population!
Lots of us feed birds and see them at our feeders so we don’t realize that our common birds populations are endangered. More than 90% of bird loss in the US and Canada comes from 12 bird families, including sparrows, blackbirds and finches. The Blackbird Family is down by 439 MILLION birds such as Common Grackles, Bobolinks and the Red-winged Blackbirds. The Finch Family has decreased by 145 MILLION including birds like the Purple Finch, the Evening Grossbeak, and the Common Redpoll. Bluejays and Rose-breasted Grossbeaks have lost 1 in 4 birds. The Beautiful Baltimore Oriole has lost 1 in 3 birds. The Sparrow Family has lost 862 MILLION birds from species such as the Savannah Sparrow, the Song Sparrow and the Eastern Towhee. The beautiful Warbler Family that creates such excitement each spring and fall is down by 618 MILLION birds including Canada Warblers, Cape May Warblers and the Wilson’s Warbler.
When we humans make efforts to bring the birds back from the brink of extinction, it works. For example, our Raptor population has increased 200% now that we understand how bad pesticides are for our environment. Our conservation efforts such as Duck Stamp have helped the waterfowl population to increase by 50%! Hunting groups have helped to increase game birds’ numbers such as Wild Turkeys by 200%. We have helped Eastern Bluebirds come back by providing houses and here in Massachusetts our forestry programs are helping our local woodpeckers to thrive now! Conservation programs are bringing back the Snowy Owl and shorebirds like the Trumpeter Swan and the American Golden Plovers too. How can you help? We need to make people aware of this sad situation. If we save the birds, we also help our planet and benefit as humans. Birds help us out in lots of ways! So, PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG to all your sites! You can also see the 7 ways to help in the link on my Resources page.
The Anna’s Hummingbird you see pictured above is thriving but many hummingbird species are declining, including our precious Ruby-throated Hummingbird. You can learn more about many of the beautiful birds you have seen here by reading my past blogs. You can even hear some of them sing to you! As always, I appreciate all of my followers. Again, please share this blog and my other sites so we can help to save our fine-feathered friends! My sites can be found on my Contact Me page. You can also help the birds by including the hashtag #BringBirdsBack in your posts about birds! Take care, Robin