HALF of the world’s birds are in decline with 1 in 8 species moving ‘faster’ towards extinction

Nearly half of the world’s bird species have declining populations, with at least one in eight threatened with extinction, a new report reveals.

The 100-year-old conservation organization BirdLife says this year’s report, which summarizes data collected from researchers, conservationists and citizen scientists, paints the most worrying picture for nature yet.

Forty-nine percent of the world’s bird species are now in decline, and only six percent have increased their populations since the last report in 2018.

One in eight species, or 1,409 in total, are in danger of extinction. Nearly 3 billion birds are estimated to have been lost in North America alone since 1970.

Nearly half of the world's bird species have declining populations, with at least one in eight threatened with extinction, a new report reveals.

Nearly half of the world’s bird species have declining populations, with at least one in eight threatened with extinction, a new report reveals.

Major threats to the birds include the growth of unsustainable agriculture, logging, invasive species, overharvesting, and climate change.

Major threats to the birds include the growth of unsustainable agriculture, logging, invasive species, overharvesting, and climate change.

Major threats to the birds include the growth of unsustainable agriculture, logging, invasive species, overharvesting, and climate change.

“We’ve already lost more than 160 bird species in the last 500 years, and the rate of extinction is accelerating,” said Lucy Haskell, BirdLife science officer and lead author of State of the World’s Birds. report.

“Historically, most extinctions have occurred on islands, but it is worrying that there is a rising tide of continental extinctions, driven by landscape-scale habitat loss.”

“The state of the world’s birds continues to deteriorate: species are moving ever faster towards extinction,” said the report released this week.

Most bird populations face a combination of threats caused by humans.

One in eight species, or 1,409 in total, are in danger of extinction.  Nearly 3 billion birds are estimated to have been lost in North America alone since 1970

One in eight species, or 1,409 in total, are in danger of extinction.  Nearly 3 billion birds are estimated to have been lost in North America alone since 1970

One in eight species, or 1,409 in total, are in danger of extinction. Nearly 3 billion birds are estimated to have been lost in North America alone since 1970

“We’ve already lost more than 160 bird species in the last 500 years, and the rate of extinction is accelerating,” said Lucy Haskell, BirdLife science officer and lead author of the State of the World’s Birds report.

Forty-nine percent of the world's bird species are now in decline, and only six percent have increased their populations since the last report in 2018.

Forty-nine percent of the world's bird species are now in decline, and only six percent have increased their populations since the last report in 2018.

Forty-nine percent of the world’s bird species are now in decline, and only six percent have increased their populations since the last report in 2018.

Major threats include the growth of unsustainable agriculture, logging, invasive species, overharvesting, and climate change.

Agriculture is the main threat to birds, affecting at least 73 percent of threatened species, with its expansion into bird habitats and its increased use of chemicals and machines as it grows.

Logging is another big threat. The report states that more than 7 million hectares of forest are lost each year, which is an area larger than the Republic of Ireland, and this affects nearly half of the world’s threatened bird species.

The researchers note that climate change is already negatively affecting birds by causing more intense storms, wildfires and droughts in areas the birds call home.

It is estimated that 97 percent of bird species in the US could be affected by two or more climate-related threats by 2100 if global temperatures rise 3 degrees Celsius.

Finally, factors such as fisheries bycatch and overexploitation and invasive species are also driving population declines.

Agriculture is the main threat to birds, affecting at least 73 percent of threatened species, with its expansion into bird habitats and its increased use of chemicals and machines as it grows.

Agriculture is the main threat to birds, affecting at least 73 percent of threatened species, with its expansion into bird habitats and its increased use of chemicals and machines as it grows.

Agriculture is the main threat to birds, affecting at least 73 percent of threatened species, with its expansion into bird habitats and its increased use of chemicals and machines as it grows.

Logging is another big threat.  The report states that more than 7 million hectares of forest are lost each year, which is an area larger than the Republic of Ireland, and this affects nearly half of the world's threatened bird species.

Logging is another big threat.  The report states that more than 7 million hectares of forest are lost each year, which is an area larger than the Republic of Ireland, and this affects nearly half of the world's threatened bird species.

Logging is another big threat. The report states that more than 7 million hectares of forest are lost each year, which is an area larger than the Republic of Ireland, and this affects nearly half of the world’s threatened bird species.

Bycatch occurs when seabirds search for fishing bait or discarded fish and become snagged or entangled in fishing gear or collide with tow lines, often resulting in drowning.

‘The natural world is in trouble. Human actions are driving species rapidly toward extinction, undermining ecosystem functions and services vital to our very survival,” the report says.

“Birds tell us about the health of our natural environment; we ignore their messages at our peril,” says Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife.

“Many parts of the world are already experiencing extreme wildfires, droughts, heat waves and floods, as human-transformed ecosystems struggle to adapt to climate change,” the report states.

“While the COVID pandemic and the global cost-of-living crisis have undoubtedly diverted attention from the environmental agenda, global society must remain focused on the biodiversity crisis.”

Despite the dire warnings in the report, there is reason for optimism. Ongoing conservation efforts are paying off. BirdLife notes that 726 globally threatened bird species have directly benefited from the work of the BirdLife Partnership.

Furthermore, between 21 and 32 bird species would have become extinct since 1993 without the conservation efforts undertaken to save them.

“Many parts of the world are already experiencing extreme wildfires, droughts, heat waves and floods, as human-transformed ecosystems struggle to adapt to climate change,” the report states.

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