State of the Birds

Mar 24, 2009 | Birding

Last week, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and partners released the first-ever comprehensive State of the Birds report for the United States. From the arctic and aridlands to oceans and forests, the report summarizes the state of our nation’s birds—an indicator of the health of the environment.

The report shows heartening evidence that conservation action in the past 40 years has reversed declines of many birds—but it also documents troubling declines in numerous habitats.

In a press conference announcing the report, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called for a new ethic of conservation, saying, “ This report should be a call to action, but it is action that is within our reach.” He said the report scientifically documents the challenges that birds face—and shows the way to addressing the problems through cooperative conservation efforts.

John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, emphasized the need to apply what we have learned from conservation successes to places such as aridlands, grasslands, coastal areas, and Hawaii.

“Hawaii is a borderline ecological disaster…the epicenter of extinctions and near extinctions,” he said. “It is of critical importance that the U.S. in its great scale attend to this source of huge pride that is a part of our country and which now desperately needs additional investment before it’s too late for yet a whole new series of birds and their habitats. “

Dr. Fitzpatrick also noted the key contributions of citizen-science participants. “Citizen science rocks,” he said. “The data that have gone into this report are by and large collected not by a few pinhead scientists in the conservation organizations and academic environments but by millions of individuals who have accepted the idea that nature is fun but who also accept the idea that with a few minutes of attention a year, you can actually put some numbers together. Now…we can begin to put together spectacularly massive databases that show in detail, scale, and fine-grained scope what the trends are.”

News media across the country highlighted the State of the Birds, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. We invite you to visit the State of the Birds website, where you can watch a video, explore results of the report, or listen to a recording of the press conference.

The State of the Birds website, video, and printed report were produced for the partnership by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We thank you for your support of the Lab, which enables our science and communications teams to bring birds to the attention of our country’s highest levels of leadership, as well as to the general public.

Blog Archives

Stay in Touch

Ben & Tina's World
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127