Connecticut Audbon Society


Connecticut State of the Birds

Connecticut State of the Birds 2021: Scheduled for early December

There are 3 billion fewer birds in North America than there were 50 years ago.

That number was shocking in 2019 when it was first reported in a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Science, and it’s no less shocking now.

Connecticut State of the Birds 2021 will focus on the issues raised by the paper, and will also take a close look at the work of five conservationists conducting research on species that have declined. 

It will include the concise thoughts of up to a dozen top conservationists on the most important steps to take now to reverse the decline.

The report will feature lead articles by Peter Marra, Ph.D., co-author of the 2019 Science paper that documented the long-term population decline; and by Brooke Bateman, Ph.D, chief climate scientist for the National Audubon Society.

In his article, Dr. Marra, the Laudato Si Professor of Biology and the Environment at Georgetown University, 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 re-evaluated.”

But he adds, “Although the factors contributing to bird population declines remain elusive, we are making progress in pinpointing how to identify why, where and when the decline happens.”

Halting and reversing the population decline will require not just fixing the inadequacies of past conservation efforts but also planning for new and increasing threats, the most overarching of which is climate change.

Dr. Bateman was instrumental in the National Audubon Society’s determination that climate change is the single biggest threat to birds. Her article will address the future of bird conservation in the face of that threat.

Researchers throughout the northeast are working on conservation research projects designed to figure out why individual species have declined and what can be done to stop and reverse the decline. Many of the declining species are familiar and perhaps surprising. Connecticut State of the Birds 2021 will look at five that are familiar to Connecticut residents:

Rusty Blackbirds, by Carol Foss, Ph.D., of New Hampshire Audubon.

Wood Thrush, by Calandra Stanley, Ph.D., of Georgetown University.

Semipalmated Sandpipers, by David Mizrahi, Ph.D., of New Jersey Audubon.

Roseate Terns and Common Terns, by Peter Paton, Ph.D., of the University of Rhode Island, and Pamela Loring, Ph.D., of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Long-tailed Ducks, by Timothy White, Ph.D., of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Every member of the Connecticut Audubon Society receives a copy of the report each year. If you’re a member, look for yours in the mail. If not, join now to make sure you get your copy.

Articles in Connecticut State of the Birds are written by the best ornithologists and conservationist in the state and the region. The report is edited by Tom Andersen, Connecticut Audubon’s communications director.

Throughout the years authors have included:

  • Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Connecticut State Ornithologist Margaret Rubega of UConn
  • Robert Askins and Glenn Dreyer of Connecticut College
  • Pulitzer Prize-nominee Scott Weidensaul
  • Peter Marra of Georgetown University, formerly the head of the migratory bird center at the Smithsonian.
  • Chris S. Elphick of the University of Connecticut
  • Kathleen Van Der Aue, Chair of the Connecticut Audubon Society and former president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association
  • David Winkler of Cornell University
  • Former Commissioner Rob Klee of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Tykee James, National Audubon Society
  • Amy Blaymore Paterson, the Connecticut Land Conservation Council
  • David Foster of the Harvard Forest
  • Sally Harold of The Nature Conservancy
  • Min Huang of the CT DEEP
  • Leah Lopez Schmalz of Save the Sound
  • Wayne R. Peterson of Massachusetts Audubon
  • Randy Dettmers of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Jenny Dickson of the CT DEEP
  • Chad Seewagen of the Great Hollow Nature Preserve
  • Jamie Vaudrey of UConn/Avery Point
  • Sam Apgar Ph.D., UConn
  • Scott Kruitbosch, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute
  • And many others, including Connecticut Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins and Milan Bull, Connecticut Audubon’s senior director of science and conservation.

Click the titles to download copies of Connecticut State of the Birds

2020 Pandemic: Conservationists Scramble in the Field, the Lab, and the Legislature

2019 “An Improved Long Island Sound Faces Unpredictable Change. Can Birds, Fish, Conservationists, & Government Adapt?”

2018 In Cities and Suburbs: A Fresh Look at How Birds Are Surviving in Connecticut

2017 The New Bird Atlas: A Call to Action for Connecticut’s Conservationists

2016 Gains, Losses and the Prospect of Extinction

2015 Protecting and Connecting Large Landscapes

2014 Connecticut’s Diverse Landscape: Managing Our Habitats for Wildlife

2013 The Seventh Habitat and the Decline of Our Aerial Insectivores.

2012 Where Is the Next Generation of Conservationists Coming From?

2011 Conserving our Forest Birds

2010 Citizen Scientists Contribute to Conservation

2009 Bird Conservation Priorities

2008 Specific Conservation Complexities and Challenges

2007 Specific Threats to Connecticut’s Birds

2006 Conserving Birds and Their Habitats

Connecticut State of the Birds cover collage





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