Study Warns Half Of All Birds Are Moving Toward Extinction

A new study released on bird populations is both troubling and startling. It found that half of all birds are declining, with one in eight species being threatened by extinction.

The century-old conservation organization, BirdLife International, released its fifth edition of the State of the World’s Birds report, but the findings weren’t what conservationists hoped.

Photo: Unsplash/Jan Meeus

The authors of the report wrote, “This wealth of information paints a deeply concerning picture.” In the report, the authors outlined that the majority of bird populations are in decline, with many having been depleted and nearing extinction.

According to their findings, an estimated 49% of bird species around the world are in decline. Only 6% of bird species have been found to have increasing populations since the last report was published in 2018.

Photo: Unsplash/Gary Bending

In the last 500 years, the world has already lost an estimated 160 bird species. Sadly, more species are “moving ever faster towards extinction.” In North America alone, the bird population has plummeted by 2.9 billion birds since 1970!

“Historically, most extinctions were on islands, but worryingly there is a growing wave of continental extinctions, driven by landscape-scale habitat loss,” the report noted.

According to the BirdLife report, the biggest issues plaguing bird populations are human-related, such as agricultural expansion, logging, and climate change.

Photo: Unsplash/Matt Palmer

While the results of the report sound grim, the authors were sure to note that there’s hope – if we take action.

“Most urgent is the conservation and effective management of the global network of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), particularly through protected areas, or where appropriate through other effective area-based conservation measures,” the report explained.

Photo: Unsplash/Arjan Stalpers

Species have been brought back from the brink of extinction before, but it rarely happens without intervention and conservation efforts.

The report read: “The next decade is critical if we are to stop unravelling the fabric of life and destroying our global safety net. The future of the world’s birds and ultimately our own species depends upon it.”

You can read the full report here.

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