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American birds declining faster than expected

A recent study published in the journal Science estimated that more than 1 in 4 birds in the United States and Canada have disappeared in the last 50 years. The sheer decline in bird numbers was a surprise. But surprisingly, common backyard birds that are traditionally abundant had declined too, and not just threatened bird species.

Grassland birds showed the greatest decline in numbers (53%), followed by shoreline (37%) and forests birds (22%).  Concerted conservation efforts, however, have made a difference. Thus, wetland birds and raptors, such as the Bald Eagle, saw an increase in bird numbers. “The numbers show that taking steps like wildlife management, habitat restoration, and political action can be effective to save species in steep decline,” wrote Jillian Mock, a reporter for Audubon Magazine.

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*Index of population gain/loss among 392 bird species (placed into 3 groups) designated as “greatest concern” by one or more U.S. states. (2019 Cornell University)

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