Trimmel Gomes/Florida News Connection

A new study from the journal Science shows a steady decline of nearly three billion wild birds in North America since 1970.

Nearly a half-century ago, about 10.1 billion birds used to soar the skies across the United States and Canada. That has dropped by 29%.

Scientists say while the cause varies, from development, agricultural conversion to even sea-level rise, they all stem from human activity. Julie Wraithmell is the executive director of Audubon Florida.

“Things that are really even common showed decline, things like Baltimore orioles, barn swallows,” says Wraithmell. “These are common birds that we see, especially on migration.”

The research led by Cornell University conservation scientist Kenneth Rosenberg covered wild birds.

Also, not all bird populations are shrinking. Thanks to focused efforts, bluebirds are increasing and scientists say people can help keep that trend going by avoiding the use of pesticides and drinking bird-friendly coffee.

Wraithmell says she sees the decline as a clarion call for Florida’s leaders to make Everglades restoration, climate change and protecting lands through the state’s conservation program, Florida Forever, a top priority.

“I think that it underscores just how important it is that we are protecting our landscape, not just for the benefit to watershed and parks for people, but also habitat for wildlife,” says Wraithmell.

Experts say habitat loss was the number one reason for bird loss. There also is a concern and a call for people to keep their cats indoors after a 2015 study showed cats kill 2.6 billion birds each year in North America.

Experts say taking up birdwatching and spreading awareness also can help in increasing the population of birds.

More on the study and #BringBackBirds can be found at www.3billionbirds.org.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Okay, you all got me. I didn’t know anything about the subject of drinking bird-friendly coffee. I had never even heard of such. I looked it up on google. I feel so sorry for the wildlife of this world, and for the deaths of so many millions of birds too. There are so many factors that are killing off the birds species, and it is a shame. Neonicotiod chemicals, not sure I spelled it quite right, are very much a culprit, to killing not only birds, but beneficial honey bees. Humans are destroying this earth. Big corporations too. I try my best to never buy ornamental plants that are knowingly sprayed with neonicotiod chemicals, because they are considered systemic pesticides, and what that means is the pesticide never leaves that plant, any part of the plant, and it cannot be washed away either. This means the pesticide chemical is in all parts of the plant forever, and if you do choose to eat the fruit of any plant, or veggie, putting the fruit or veggie under the kitchen faucet to wash the fruit, it does not wash away! You are ingesting the chemicals when you eat that fruit or veggie, and it could be harmful. This is why farmers and ornamental plant nurseries love the systematic pesticides. And DDT, of the past, killed off millions probably of birds, even right here in the Apopka area. We also have cities bypassing federal laws against killing migratory birds, by ordering up bird culling, like Canadian geese, for on example. Go check out the Goose Watch website, and sign up for the notices. It is so wrong. Look at the dove hunts, that go on, all across this country, just killing for the fun of it, because someone is bored and organizes these hunts, for different fundraisers. What a shame. Wildfires, controlled burns, development, cats, droughts, floods, on and on, so many factors…….I can’t write a book on here, but it is bad.

  2. One thing I have read is the neonicotoid chemicals cause the birds to be unable to fatten up enough to be able to migrate the long miles of flight. How sad is that!? We had to cut down our big Sycamore tree in the backyard, and our big Maple tree out front, and one tall palm that fell over our street light lines out front, and across our driveway, after the previous bad hurricane, when there was debris all over Apopka. Now, I am not seeing near the amount of birds coming to our yard. I am not seeing the red-headed wood peckers, hardly any red cardinals, the hawks too, that used to hang out here in our trees. Previously, one year, when we had a lot of trees, there were thousands of little dark birds that migrated to our Sycamore tree, and very soon after they left, we started seeing ticks everywhere, inside and out! I guess those birds brought in ticks, and it was alarming. We were afraid of getting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or Lyme Disease. Now I know why people do get Lyme Disease here in Florida, even though some doctors here say Lyme Disease is not possible to get in Florida.

  3. When you do shop for ornamental plants, or buy seed packs, at the big box stores, read the labels, and look for neonicotoid chemicals, or look for any labels that say they have been treated with systematic pesticides, as they are labeled sometimes, but some are not. Weed killers are to be avoided too, IMO, just watch the lawyers on tv, suing the chemical makers because of cancer concerns.

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