A new study shows that billions of birds have recently vanished from North America.
This study, which was published in the middle of September, 2019 shows very conclusively that the number of birds in the US and Canada has fallen by 29% since 1970. This means is that there are 2.9 billion fewer birds in our skies than there were 50 years ago.
This analysis was published in the prestigious journal Science in September, 2019. The report is the most exhaustive and ambitious study of what many people have been saying for a long time now, “There just are not as many birds around as there used to be. What’s going on.”
The top guy at the National Audubon Society said that this disappearance of almost 3 billion birds is nothing less than a full blown crisis.
And the missing birds are not only the rare birds that have always been been on the brink of extinction. These are common birds like robins and sparrows. Birds until just very recently we were used to seeing every day.
It appears that many, many species of North American birds are suddenly going extinct. Many of us have been thinking for the last forty or fifty years that nature was disappearing, but now it suddenly looks like it’s actually happening. We are actually and really beginning to lose nature as we have always known it.
In the new 2019 study researchers studied 529 species of birds between 2006 and 2015. These 529 species represent almost all of the major bird species in North America.
The study discovered that there were a few species that grew; but these were mostly those species that in the last 50 years or so had dropped to very low numbers for well know reasons, such as loss of habitat or a habitat that was polluted heavily with insecticides or because of over-hunting. In these cases, the problems had been fixed and these species had been gradually recovering.
But the vast majority of species studied showed a huge and totally unexpected drop in numbers.
“We were stunned by the result — it’s just staggering,” said Kenneth V. Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at Cornell University and the American Bird Conservancy, and the lead author of the new study.”
“It’s not just the highly threatened birds that we’re afraid are going to go on the endangered species list,” he said. “It’s across the board.”
One of the worst hit groups were the warblers. Their population dropped by 617 million. And there are now 440 million fewer blackbirds than there once were.
The grassland species were the hardest hit; this group dropped by 717 million species. Probably what hurt these birds most was modern agriculture. Every time a farmer plows his fields or drains a swamp, most of the birds in that area are lost.
Many are now thinking that this loss of birds is a sort of early warning system of something dreadfully wrong with earth’s environment. Birds are often the first species to die, as they are highly sensitive to changes in their surroundings. This is why the old time coal miners always used caged canaries to warn them that poisonous gasses were present in the mine.
Many scientists are now thinking that when the cardinals and blue jays and sparrows and robins are not doing well, something must be really, really wrong out there.
Below are links to additional reading on what may become the end of birds.