The State of Birds in the United States – doesn’t fly


Nearly a third of 800 U.S. bird species are imperiled or in significant decline because of habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and other threats, according to a comprehensive new federal report.

The “State of the Birds” report shows sobering declines for rare birds on the Hawaiian islands and in ocean habitats, grasslands and arid lands. But it shows waterfowl and wetland birds rebounding, an improvement that conservation groups touted as evidence of the success of habitat-protection programs.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the report a “clarion call” for more investment in the Fish and Wildlife Service, in conservation programs and in large-scale legislative efforts. “This report should be a call to action, but it is action within our reach,” Salazar said at a news conference. “If we move forward with a new ethic of conservation, we will be able to restore bird populations.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, state wildlife agencies and nonprofits worked on the report, which analyzes 40 years of data from various bird censuses.

The report shows that populations of half of all migrating shorebirds have declined and populations of birds in arid lands have declined 30 percent in the past 40 years. The report links shorebird declines to stress from development, disturbance and dwindling food supplies along the coasts. Urban development sprawling into arid lands is threatening birds there.

RTFA. Better yet, read the report.

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