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:
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