Out of the 1000 bird species that are found in U.S. more than 251 are endangered or facing survival challenges. On 3rd May, 2011, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Harris Sherman presented the " State of the Birds report". The main aim of this project is to analyze and study the condition of winter bird species, their habitat and protecting their breeding sites. The project is the first national assessment that provides information on the distribution of bird species over the vast public lands and water reserves of America. The report has opened up opportunities for contribution from the public agencies in the sustenance of the bird scattered habitats. The bird distribution data was collected from the eBird citizen-science project and the Protected Areas Database of the U.S. on the basis of which exact percentage wise distribution of various bird species on public lands was evaluated. Other agencies that helped with the report were, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Audubon Canyon Ranch, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, the California Coastal Conservancy, and Wildlife Service. The State of the Bird report is all about analyzing the nesting of birds in wetlands, coasts and oceans. The main focus is to track down the habitat obligates that served as single primary habitat for some species.
What are the outcomes of State of the Birds report?
In nutshell the State of the Birds report has revealed that:
The nation acquisition of wretlands has helped in the increase of wetland bird species and provided them with essential habitats that are home to millions of ducks, geese and other shoreline birds.
US marine waters which are home to about 86 bird species and 173 other ocean bird species have declined over the yeares showing that there is a problem with their habitats. Public agencies that help in conservation of these habitats have to
In the Arctic Tundra and Boreal forests where more than 90% is distributed in public lands and millions of bird habitats are protected, greater protections from habitat degradation should be provided to help in continuing the healthy bird populations, in lowland tundra regions where only 6% of public land is protected.
The bird life around the most threatened San Francisco Bay have stabilized after huge investment in restoration program
Some of the bird species that have grown in number include Sandpiper, Willet, beach loving bird -western snowy plover, and Californian least tern. However, the number of different birds species that have decreased in number is much more and include Caspian tern, black-crowned night heron, western sandpiper, forster's tern, snowy egret, canvasback, scaup , northern pintail, and scoters.
The report cites various reasons such as habitat loss, invasive species, predators, lowered breeding success, diversion of fresh water during mining of gold and rise in sea level as the cause for decline in bird community.
Natural processes must be restored to help the resilient ecosystems by controlling nonnative species and the resulting diseases, reinvigorate forests and grasslands, and water delivery and management to sustain wetlands.
What are the bird habitats highlighted by the State of the Birds report?
Most of the habitats in America are owned by public and therefore controlling the decline population of bird species can be made more effective by active participation from public agencies and local groups. The Stare of the Bird report has cited various such publicly owned bird habitats:
Aridlands: Half of the aridlands in U.S are owned by public out of which 39% of birds’ species residing in these habitats are conservation concern while nearly 76% are reducing rapidly
Forests: Some of the fragmented forest patches are owned by public and conservation of these areas is of utmost importance for the survival of bird species like Kirtland’s Warbler
Oceans and coasts: Most of the U.S. marine waters are owned by public that are the habitat for 86 ocean bird species and 173 coastal species out of which 39% are facing conservation concern
Arctic and Alpine: 90 percent of the breeding birds nesting in alpine, boreal and arctic forests in the Alaska region live in public places out of which 34 bird species are facing conservation concern.
Wetlands: Protecting wetlands for controlling the decline of bird population has proved to be ‘gold standard’ way to conserve bird community. The report has revealed that due to acquisition and proper management of wetlands in last 40 years the 39 hunted waterfowl species have shown 100 % growth in their number.
Islands: The birds on the Hawaii Island in US are facing the strongest problem of survival as around 73 percent of forest bird species (Kauai) in this region are facing decline.
Grasslands: The bird species in the Grasslands are experiencing fast decline in their population. More than 48% of grasslands need immediate protection if this decline is to be controlled.
What is the conclusion?
The State of the Birds report emphasizes upon the need for combined effort from the public, government and private agencies for the conservation of bird species as majority of breeding sites and bird habitat are owned by public and federal authorities. So as to control the decline of the complete suites of the species it is necessary to
Safeguard the arid land and forest species from the impact of agriculture and urban development
Make provision of important resources for the declining ocean birds
Conserving habitats and controlling habitat fragmentation by balancing the national need of various resources such as mining, logging, and extraction of energy