As backyard bird enthusiasts, we are not often faced with the idea that one of our favorite birds is in trouble from a conservation standpoint. Chickadees and jays, goldfinches and cardinals...they all seem to be so plentiful. Nothing could take them away from us, right?
Experts are constantly studying bird populations and each year, they publish The State of the Birds report. Here is a page from the 2014 report identifying some of the most common birds - birds that are not on any watch list (yet?) - but that have been experiencing rapid population declines.
"These birds have lost more than half their global population, and the 33 species combined
have lost hundreds of millions of breeding individuals in just the past 40 years."
Take a moment to look through this list of birds. Take them in, one by one, asking yourself these 3 questions. I'd love it if you shared your answers in the comments:
Which birds have I personally seen?
Have any of them visited my yard?
Are there any that really surprise me because it seems like they're so abundant or seemingly common that they just CAN'T be in trouble?
We just spent a couple months at our Wild Birds Unlimited shop commemorating the loss of a massively abundant bird, the Passenger Pigeon. The loss of that bird, which used to number in the billions, is a lesson that no population of birdlife is too big to lose.
This report clearly shows that bird declines are not only occuring in rare birds or birds whose habitat or food needs are very specific. Declines are occuring in our own backyard.
All of us can play the role of bird conservationist, whether it is making decisions about our own habitats or contacting officials that manage lands and development, or keeping cats indoors and our windows bird-safe, or contributing financially to support the work of conservation and bird research organizations like the American Bird Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, to name a few.
Let's all do our part to keep these birds, and all birds, from disappearing. Every bird we lose makes our world a sadder, duller, and quieter place to live.
Here's a link to The State of the Birds 2014 report.