Bird Populations in North America
Updated: Aug 21
By: Alex Lee
Bird populations all over North America have plummeted over the past few decades, from the common sparrows to many threatened species. According to recent studies, most recently on Thursday, overall bird populations have dropped 29% in 50 years to about 3 billion less birds.
These findings display how the environment may also be affecting other animals similar to birds. “Birds are literally the canary in the coal mine,” Ken Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, states. More surprising when many common birds, such as finches, that are known to adapt to human landscapes had a huge decrease in population, almost a fall of 53%. “If we can’t keep those populations healthy then something’s really wrong… it puts a punctuation on it,” Dr. Rosenberg states. The findings that Dr. Rosenberg state may in fact be reflected, or already occurring globally around the world, with bird populations declining all over.
However, finding the reason for the problem is difficult, as there is no singular problem for all of the population decline in the birds. Scientists believe that the main cause is in fact climate change, with the shifts in agricultural practices and deforestation creating habitat loss for these animals. The beginning of the decline was recorded by bird watchers and researches that they noticed a decrease in bird populations before scientists have confirmed these sightings. Researchers studied the population of 529 different bird species. Over a span of five decades, America and Canada observed, using bird monitoring data sets and numerous weather radars, that 419 of the species had population increases where 100 of the species had small increases in population. This find is the main reason why the National Audubon Society is working in restoring acts for the environment to help rebound the bird populations all over. They are focusing on the what, and why’s of the decline to help find a solution for the bird population. They are calling out to the community and individuals to do their best to ensure their best to try and avoid climate change with simpler cleaner options, such as biking or carpooling instead of driving individually if possible, for it may grow beyond just the bird population, to other animals, even perhaps humans.