Posted by: Dan | March 21, 2009

State of the Birds

From back home in the States, from the US Fish & Wildlife Services Agency:

That from the State of the Birds report released March 19th in a press conference by US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. It’s an excellent resource, with analyses of the more than 800 bird species that inhabit terrestrial, coastal, and ocean habitats of the United States, including the Hawaiian islands. Of those 800+ species, 67 are federally listed as endangered or threatened. In addition, more than 184 species are designated as ‘species of conservation’ concern due to their small distributions, high threat levels, or declining populations.

GrrlScientist at Living the Scientific Life [Scientist, Interrupted] has a nice summary of the impacts of the findings. Check it out, because while the report focuses on North America, the patterns of loss/gain of certain habitats are very likely to remain the same. Also pay attention to the suggestions regarding ways to minimize our impacts on ecosystems on the individual level:

  1. Make sure your purchases do not harm wild bird populations. For example, insist on only drinking shade-grown coffee, and avoid seafoods that destroy seabirds and other animals as “bycatch” (learn more about environmentally-friendly seafoods).
  2. Reduce or stop pesticide and fertilizer use, purchase organic pesticide-free foods whenever possible and use only nontoxic cleaning agents that do not poison the soil and watershed.
  3. Fight back against invasive plant and animal species, which threaten more than one-third of the birds on the Audubon WatchList*. Keep your pet cats indoors at all times and keep dogs on a leash or in a fenced run when outdoors. Landscape your yard only with native plants.
    *If anyone has a list of invasive species in Europe, please let me know!
  4. Defend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and demand that politicians rely on scientists and scientifically collected data to design and implement conservation and restoration efforts.
  5. Share your passion for birds and their habitats with others by example: take a kid birding with you, pick up trash while hiking, learn more about conservation efforts and also share your passion through your writing, music, art, and photography. Participate in citizen-science projects, like the Christmas Bird Count, the Breeding Bird Survey and the Great Backyard Bird Count, which further our knowledge of avian populations. Donate unused binoculars to biologists in the tropics, where most North American migratory birds spend their winters.

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