Report: More than a third of North American bird species at risk of extinction

A new report has called for urgent conservation efforts if we want to save one-third of the North American bird species.

The report, State of North America’s Birds, was created by representatives of the different North American Bird Conservation Initiative partners from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. The report highlights the grim condition of quite a few bird species and states that 432 of 1,154 bird species found in North America are most at risk of extinction.

For the report, which was prepared over the course of past one and a half years, experts relied on data collected from various bird surveys and counts dating back to the 1970s.

Some of the key findings highlighted in the report are:

  • Seabird population has declined by nearly 70 per cent since 1950s;
  • About 40 per cent of the more than 100 species that depend on coastal habitats are on the Watch List;
  • Most boreal bird species are of low or moderate conservation concern, indicating this is still a relatively healthy habitat;
  • Since 1970 at least a billion birds from North America are no longer in existence.
  • Mexican tropical forests have suffered greater than 70 per cent habitat loss since the 1970s and this endangers majority of resident species of the forests;
  • Of the 144 temperate forest bird species in the East and West, 30 are on the Watch List;
  • One third of all grassland bird species are on the Watch List

According to the report, birds that are most at risk are ocean birds including northern gannets. Back in 2010, these birds were the most hit because of the Gulf oil spill. Though international efforts have helped bring down the number of invasive species, they are still a major factor responsible for declining ocean birds population for they tend to attack nests and thereby reduce number of newborns.

There are a few positives in the report as well. Populations of waterfowl such as wood ducks and canvasbacks have continued to grow thanks to restrictions on hunting and banning of pesticides.
Download the report here.