Common Bird Numbers Declining

September 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Previously birds such as the cuckoo, turtle dove and nightingale were thought to be amongst the world’s most common bird species. However it seems that even these birds are now at risk, with each of these species suffering massive slumps in their overall population numbers during the past half century.

The worst part about the new findings is that this is a global trend. Birds that were once common all over the world are now suffering sharp declines. While the cuckoo and nightingales were once very common in Britain, they are no longer quite so common. In other parts of Europe the turtle dove and corn bunting have declined dramatically. In Asia, the once common white-rumped vulture is becoming scarce, while in the Middle East, the Eurasian eagle owl is disappearing. And North America certainly doesn’t escape the trend, with birds such as the northern bobwhite showing dramatic decreases in population.

These shocking revelations and others were recently published at a BirdLife International world conference in Buenos Aires in a report entitled: “State of the World’s Birds.” According to Dr Mike Rands, the chief executive of BirdLife, “many of these birds have been a familiar part of our everyday lives, and people who would have not necessarily have noticed other environmental indicators have seen their numbers slipping away and are wondering why.” Dr Rands also said that “birds provide an accurate and easy-to-read environmental barometer,” which allows “us to see clearly the pressures our current way of life is putting on the world’s biodiversity.” With a significant portion of the more ‘common’ bird populations across the world suffering dramatic population decreases – sometimes more than 40 percent – we are suddenly finding ourselves presented with the raw reality that our natural world truly is falling to pieces around us. While the effects of phenomenon’s such as global warming have already been pointed out in other ways, it seems that now even bird lovers are faced with the challenge of going green to save species that were once considered to be under no immediate threat.

As a bird lover, will you rise to the challenge or give in to defeat and watch your beloved garden-variety favourites slowly disappearing from the skies? Any efforts you make now may still make a big difference on the number of birds populating our skies in a few year’s time.

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