In DepthConservation

Billions of North American birds have vanished

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  20 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6459, pp. 1228-1229
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6459.1228

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

North America's birds are disappearing from the skies at a rate that's shocking even to ornithologists. Since the 1970s, the continent has lost 3 billion birds, nearly 30% of the total, and even common birds such as sparrows and blackbirds are in decline, U.S. and Canadian researchers report online this week in Science. The findings raise fears that some familiar species could go the way of the passenger pigeon, a species once so abundant that its extinction in early 1900s seemed unthinkable. And the results, from the most comprehensive inventory ever done for North American birds, point to ecosystems in disarray because of habitat loss and other factors that have yet to be pinned down. Researchers hope these numbers will be a wake-up call for people and policymakers to take action to protect habitats and stop the decline.

View Full Text