Quantcast
Connect with us

North America lost 3 billion birds since 1970: report

Published

on

The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by an astonishing 29 percent, or almost three billion, since 1970, scientists reported Thursday, saying their findings signaled a widespread ecological crisis.

Grassland birds are the most affected, because of the disappearance of meadows and prairies and the extension of farmland, as well as the growing use of pesticides that kill insects that affects the entire food chain.

ADVERTISEMENT

But forest birds and species that occur in a wider variety of habitats — known as habitat generalists — are also part of the downward trend.

“We see the same thing happening the world over, the intensification of agriculture and land use changes are placing pressure on these bird populations,” Ken Rosenberg, an ornithologist at Cornell University and principal co-author of the paper in Science told AFP.

“Now, we see fields of corn and other crops right up to the horizon, everything is sanitized and mechanized, there’s no room left for birds, fauna and nature.”

More than 90 percent of the losses are from 12 species including sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, and finches.

The figures mirror declines observed elsewhere, notably France, where the National Observatory of Biodiversity estimates a 30 percent decline in grasslands birds between 1989 and 2017.

ADVERTISEMENT

The US study combined two data sources.

The first was annual surveys carried out each spring, during the breeding season, conducted by thousands of volunteers, according to an identical methodology, since 1970.

The volunteers stopped every half-mile along a 25-mile (40 kilometer) journey through the countryside, counting all the birds they saw in a three minute period. Researchers then compiled and analyzed the results.

The second source came from observations from 143 radar stations which can detect the flocks of birds during migrations that took place at night.

ADVERTISEMENT

More than half of the North American bird species are migratory, flying either to the southern US or to Central and South America,

The radar information was less precise but also showed a decline of 13.6 percent between 2007 and 2017, with a margin of error of nine points.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ducks and geese are the big exception: after a period of decline, their numbers have grown since 1970.

That is thanks to increased awareness among hunters who have supported protection measures, Rosenberg said.

Ornithologists also mention other factors, such as cats left outside, and even birds dying after smashing into the windows of houses.

ADVERTISEMENT

The number killed in this way is far from insignificant: researchers in 2014 estimated it at between 365 million and a billion per year.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

These 7 details from the damning Sharpiegate report show it was a dark omen of Trump’s destructive potential

Published

on

While it was dismissed by some as an overhyped media obsession, the presidential scandal that has come to be known as "Sharpiegate" was, in fact, an early warning sign of the truly catastrophic potential of Donald Trump.

The story arose out of Hurricane Dorian, which began its deliberate march up toward the East Coast of the United States in late August and early September of 2019. It ravaged the Bahamas, and officials feared the damage it could inflict stateside. But then came a Trump tweet on Sept. 1, and later comments to reporters, in which he warned that Alabama was in the storm's path. He said it was among the states "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Florida governor finally releases the true numbers of people hospitalized with coronavirus

Published

on

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally caved in to pressure to release the actual numbers of coronavirus cases in the state's hospitals.

Until Friday, DeSantis had refused to reveal the true numbers, leaving many in the state unaware of just how bad the cases were. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a whopping 7,000 Floridians are in hospitals hoping they survive the virus.

"The data, which for the first time breaks down the number of people in the hospital with coronavirus, was promised by the state two weeks ago," the report explained.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asks why Bill Barr is trying to ‘erase Robert Mueller’s investigation’ before November

Published

on

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace returned to television Friday night to address what she called outright corruption in the Trump White House after another example of the president trying to escape the consequences of the law.

Wallace began by calling Attorney General William Barr nothing more than Trump's "bouncer."

"He has been intellectually overestimated from day one. He is not a mastermind of anything," said Wallace. "He is Donald Trump's body man."

She cited "well-sourced spin" coming from the White House Friday evening, because there were people that she said were "enlisted" with trying to talk Trump out of commuting Roger Stone's sentence. She anticipated that Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone may huff and puff about the act, but that they won't quit over it. "And we should remember their names forever. They are all accomplices in the greatest corruption of one of the most sacred powers."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image