2011 State of the Birds Report

In the United States there are more than a thousand bird species, and of that number, two hundred and fifty-one species are either of conservation concern or on the endangered list. The release of the 2011 State of the Birds Report did bring some good news to the table in regard to the preservation of these threatened species. It researched a staggering 3.5 million square miles across the ocean and 850 million acres of open areas and public spaces, studying the bird populations and their habitats. Even though many bird species do nest in public spaces, it does not protect them from threats.

According to the 2011 State of Birds Report, the reserves, parks and wildlife refuges that provide protected areas for wildlife are assisting in preventing the decline of numerous species, and keeping them away from endangerment. There are, however, a few points that the report tries to highlight, as public awareness of these facts could help birds in the future.

The report states that the United States’ publicly owned land covers nearly one-third of the land, and includes marine protected areas, wildlife refuges, national forests, state parks and national parks. It also states regarding the habitats of ocean birds, of which there are 173 coastal species and 86 species that are ocean birds, that thirty-nine percent of these species are declining and the ecosystems are greatly stressed. When looking at the aridlands, it was found that thirty-nine species here were of great conservation concern and that approximately seventy-five percent of the species found here were also on the decline. Hawaii was red flagged as an area where birds were at a high risk of extinction and that almost eighty percent of the forest birds depended on state land for their survival. The wetlands have seen an increase in the waterfowl population, while grassland birds are under the most threat as only thirteen percent of their habitat is publically owned and populations are therefore in great danger of declining.

Ken Salazar, Interior Secretary, released a statement to the press in regard to the State of the Birds report, saying that the report assists authorities in knowing if conservation efforts in water and on land are being fulfilled as best as they could. He went on to say that even though the report does show that progress is being made, that there was still a way to go and room for improvement. Salazar acknowledged that due to the birds making use of public land, conservation projects can be intensified and save numerous birds from extinction.