Million of Birds Have Vanished in North America — “An Environmental Crisis”

Bill Carr, Reporter

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Millions of birds have gone missing. Nearly a third of our bird population is gone. What is the cause of all this? Will the birds come back?

Over the past 50 years, about 29% of bird North American species have disappeared. That’s about 3 million birds that have vanished over the course of just five decades. Researchers that had been keeping an eye on the numbers of endangered bird species noticed that their numbers were going down.

Scientists have known that some of these species were in danger, but are just now realizing how bad the issue really is, says scientist Pete Marra, on nbcnews.com. This is an “environmental crisis,” he says. The decreasing species include  western meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, American sparrows, and green herons. 

Marra, along with other scientists, analyzed the data on 529 species of North American birds. According to the results, more than 1 out of every 4 birds is gone. “We’re making the wrong moves now to sustain nature for the future” says Mike Parr, President of the American Bird Conservancy, on earthflies.com. This issue is much bigger than it had once seemed.

Why are these birds vanishing? What could be the cause of this? One explanation is cats. Outdoor cats kill over one billion birds each year. Cats have a huge impact on the bird population. This is one of the biggest threats to the birds.

Another cause for the disappearances is a drop in the insect population. Insects are being killed off by neonics, nicotine-based pesticides. Neonics can harm honey bees, damaging their nervous systems and creating a colony collapse. However, like other pesticides, neonics are capable of killing off other insects. This created a lack of food for the bird population.

One more explanation is the destruction of natural habitats. The removal of forests to create human structures can disrupt the ecosystem. When their homes are cleared, the birds will have to move. Even though this may not physically harm them, it still contributes to the loss of birds in North America.

Scientists are trying to find a solution to the crisis. They want lawmakers to put a ban on the use of dangerous pesticides. They also suggest educating people on the dangers of keeping their pets outdoors. The people themselves can also help out. Doing things such as driving slower, recycling, and simply keeping your distance from birds can help them.

North American birds are in danger. Nearly one-third of them are gone, and may never return. Without taking proper action, they will face endangerment, and even extinction. The only way to prevent this is to do everything in our power to protect these creatures.

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