Over a Third of North American Bird Species Are in Danger, Study Finds


In a comprehensive survey of native bird species in the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico, experts have labeled 37 percent as “at a risk of extinction without significant action,” reports Scientific American.

The 2016 State of North America’s Birds was created with data from tens of thousands of citizen scientists and organizations in all three countries for The North American Bird Conservation Initiative.

The species on the list belong to nine major habitat types [PDF], and each was given a “Concern Score.” Any bird species with a score of 14 or higher made the Watch List, as did species with a 13 concern score paired with a sharply declining population. (A whopping 432 of the 1154 total native species earned the Watch List designation.) Along with the concern score, the full list includes the bird’s scientific name, primary breeding habitat, and the main region in which migratory species spend the winter.

The future of birds in ocean and tropical forest environments were found to be of greatest concern. As Scientific American notes, if subspecies and areas like Hawaii and Guam had been included, the number of species on the Watch List would have been even higher. And though it's a disconcerting assessment, the report serves to bring attention to avian population problems while we still have a chance to do something about them.