The nation’s 800 bird species are sending us a message. That’s the news from a new report released by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The report combines years of observations from citizen scientists and data from government agencies and conservation organizations to form the first comprehensive picture of the state of our birds. It found a third of species are declining, mostly because of human activities. Cornell Lab of Ornithology head John Fitzpatrick praised the government.
“This is the first time that the U.S. government has officially embraced the idea that birds are barometers. They’re genuine indicators not just of their own environmental health and their habitats, but the health of the broad scale environment that we humans depend on for our own economic well-being,” says Fitzpatrick.
In Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia, the American Bird Conservancy has found that several song birds are threatened because of habitat loss. The Cerulean Warbler has lost forest habitat because of clearing for mountaintop removal mining. And the Kentucky Warbler has taken a sharp hit for similar reasons.