Connecticut Audbon Society

Connecticut State of the Birds

Connecticut State of the Birds 2021:

Three Billion Birds are Gone. How Do We Bring them Back?

It’s been two years since the journal Science published a peer-reviewed paper that showed the public for the first time what many birders sensed was true: there are far fewer birds in North America now than there used to be.

Three billion fewer, in fact.

How do we bring them back?

In Connecticut, that conversation starts with Connecticut State of the Birds 2021.

[Publication date: December 2, 2021. Members received a copy in the mail. To get a PDF of the report, click HERE.]

“Today’s steep population declines,” writes Peter P. Marra, Ph.D., 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.”

Dr. Marra, an author of the Science article, is the Laudato Si Professor of Biology and the Environment at Georgetown University and the director of The Earth Commons: A Georgetown University Institute for Environment and Sustainability.

His lead article in Connecticut State of the Birds is titled, “Reimagining Bird Conservation in the 21st Century.”

Little progress on bird conservation will happen without progress on climate. Connecticut State of the Birds 2021 features an article by Brooke Bateman, Ph.D., lead climate scientist for the National Audubon Society. Dr. Bateman was instrumental in National Audubon’s determination that climate change is the single biggest threat to birds.

Her article, titled “Birds Are Telling Us It’s Time to Act on Climate Change,” explains how the intersection of bird conservation and climate change mitigation can help Connecticut meet its carbon reduction goals.

Connecticut State of the Birds also focuses on individual declining species:

  • 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.

Six national experts explain what they think are the most important things to do now to bring back birds. Those experts are Scott Weidensaul; Drew Lanham, Ph.D.; Leslie Carothers; Desiree Narango, Ph.D.; Morgan Tingley, Ph.D.; Arvind Panjabi; and Deborah Cramer.

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 around Thanksgiving.

If you are not a member, 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, and overseen by Connecticut Audubon’s top conservationists, Executive Director Patrick Comins and Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation.

Throughout the years authors have included:

  • Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Connecticut State Ornithologist Margaret Rubega of the University of Connecticut
  • 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
  • Stephen B. Oresman, former chairman of the Connecticut Audubon Society and former president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association
  • David Foster of the Harvard Forest
  • Sally Harold of The Nature Conservancy
  • Min Huang of the CT DEEP
  • Leah Lopez Schmalz, president 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 of the University of Connecticut
  • 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.

state of the birds report coverClick 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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