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[ North American Birds Declining as Threats Mount ]

Photograph by Glenn Bartley, Corbis

Photograph by Glenn Bartley, Corbis

Scientists are saying that global warming, habitat loss, wind turbines, and cats are all factors leading to the decline of North American birds.  Check out the story from National Geographic.

Throughout the year, birders look forward to changing seasons and avian scenes as they explore woods, grasslands, and wetlands: the spectacle of spring migration, the songs of breeding birds, the autumn southward flight of wintering species from northern nesting grounds.

Increasingly, though, both casual bird-watchers and ornithologists note a steady decline in numbers—not just of endangered species, but also of common birds not usually considered to be at risk. Study after study, survey after survey show a worrisome downward trend in populations.

A National Audubon Society report called “Common Birds in Decline,” for instance, shows that some widespread species generally thought to be secure have decreased in number as much as 80 percent since 1967, and the 19 others in the report have lost half their populations. The figures reflect an array of threats faced by birds throughout North America. (Read about the decline of European songbirds in National Geographic magazine.)

Migrants return from Central America to find that the brushy field where they nested the previous year is now a strip mall.

Millions of songbirds annually suffer bloody death in the claws of domestic cats. Millions more collide with city skyscrapers or communications towers, or fly into the glass windows of suburban houses.

And climate change could degrade or even eliminate habitats in ways that scientists have only recently begun to study and try to forecast.

Check out the full story from National Geographic here.

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