Sadly, bird populations have been declining since 1970. In fact, some statistics are estimating that the population has declined by nearly 30 percent. One study states that the current bird total is 2.9 billion birds less than the total in 1970.
The National Audubon Society states we are in a “full-blown crisis.” Five hundred different species of birds were the focus of the study. Researchers found dramatic losses with many species. Even common birds like robins and sparrows showed large declines in numbers.
Hillary Young, a conservation biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara commented about the study. She said, “Declines in your common sparrow or other little brown bird may not receive the same attention as historic losses of bald eagles or sandhill cranes, but they are going to have much more of an impact.”
Many Birds, Even Common Birds Are Declining Rapidly
Kenneth V. Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at Cornell University and the American Bird Conservancy was stunned by the results. Rosenberg was also the study’s lead author. “It’s not just these highly threatened birds that we’re afraid are going to go on the endangered species list,” he said. “It’s across the board.”
The study relied on reports from many sources. The North American Breeding Survey, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and other citizens all contributed.
Rosenberg believes that the decline of bird populations could be because of modern agricultural practices. “The intensification of agriculture is happening all over the world, [as is] increased use of pesticides, as well as the continued conversion of the remaining grass and pastureland—and even native prairie” to cropland, Rosenberg said.
If you would like to learn more about the decline in bird populations, check out the following video.