Connecticut Audbon Society

A bird-lover’s guide to the 2021 CT State of the Birds report

“Three Billion Birds Are Gone. How Do We Bring Them Back?”

To get a PDF of the report, click here.

Starting Point
The starting point for the report is a study published in Science in September 2019. Written by 11 top ornithologists from the U.S. and Canada, it shows that over the last 50 years, North America has lost about 30% of its birds.

In other words, there are three billion fewer birds in North America today than there were in 1970.

Connecticut State of the Birds 2021 is a call to action for our state’s response to that crisis.

  • It focuses on how Connecticut can help reverse the population decline.
    CT Audubon Society
  • It also focuses on six species that nest, spend the winter, or migrate through Connecticut; and on the scientists who are working to understand why they have declined and how to conserve them.
    CT Audubon Society
  • It shows that the work to bring birds back has benefits far beyond birds. Connecticut has an opportunity to protect and improve open land to bring birds back and help achieve the state’s goals for reducing the carbon that is causing climate change.
    CT Audubon Society
  • It shows that if the work to bring birds back focuses on local achievements, it can be successful on a regional scale.
    CT Audubon Society
  • It shows that important work is being done to understand why specific bird species are declining.
    CT Audubon Society

It also precedes a report with a nationwide focus on the same issue, called U.S. State of the Birds, that is scheduled to be published early in 2022 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and other institutions.

The report


“Reimagining Bird Conservation in the 21st Century”
by Peter P. Marra. Page 1.

Dr. Marra, an author of the 2019 Science study, writes:
“ … today’s steep population declines are a clear indication that our existing conservation tools, including domestic laws and international treaties, are not sufficient to deal with present threats to birds and need to be wholly reevaluated.”

“ … we need to be strategic, and swift. … Our solutions to reverse declines must also fully engage a spectrum of collaborators, including ecological and social scientists, land managers, private industry, and policy makers throughout the hemisphere.”

“Birds Are Telling Us It’s Time to Act on Climate Change: Natural Climate Solutions Show the Way”
by Brooke Bateman. Page 18.

Dr. Bateman writes that the biggest threat to the recovery of birds is climate change. But quick, well-chosen actions can reduce the harm done to 75% of North America’s birds.

In Connecticut, there are 1.5 million acres that are a priority to protect, maintain, and restore. Doing so will benefit birds and help reach the state’s carbon reduction goal.

“The Most Important Things to Do Now”
Thoughts from Scott Weidensaul, Drew Lanham, Leslie Carothers, Morgan Tingley, Arvind Panjabi, Deborah Cramer, Desiree L. Narango. Page 12.

The Birds

“The Uncertain Road to Recovering 3 Billion Birds” Page 3

A list of 37 Connecticut birds close to being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. (Source: Marra Lab/urgency list)

“Searching the Forests of Far Northern New Hampshire for the Key to Rusty Blackbird Declines” Page 4.

“Semipalmated Sandpipers Are Down By 80% — Their Plight in a Changing World” Page 6.

“Food-rich Shoals Provide Refuge for Collapsing Sea Duck Populations” Page 10.

“One Good Tern Deserves Another: Common and Roseate Terns in Long Island Sound” Page 14.

“Wood Thrush Have Declined by 60% — Chasing Them Through Their Annual Cycle to Learn Why” Page 21.

The Future
“Working for Better Conservation”
By Patrick Comins. Page 24

“Recommendations and Actions ” Page 25

Connecticut Audubon’s executive director outlines the conservation steps that this organization and other conservation organizations, state and local agencies, and individuals are pursuing now, and should pursue in the future.







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