The first worldwide bird census reports that there are roughly 50 billion birds in the world, according to a recent study by the University of New South Wales. The findings are based on almost a billion bird sightings recorded on eBird, the online database used by many bird watchers to report their observations. Researchers created an algorithm to then estimate the population for 92 percent of the world’s 9,700 bird species (with 8 percent being so rare that data was unavailable).
In other bird number news, the US Fish and Wildlife Service updated its list of Birds of Conservation Concern for the first time in 13 years. The report identifies 269 taxa (the collective term for species, subspecies, and populations) that are of highest conservation priority. (Note this does not include the 88 taxa protected by the Endangered Species Act, 12 species on the Partners in Flight Watch List, or our 47 extinct birds.)
Both of these updates bring to mind the staggering news that shook the birding world in August 2019 that almost three billion birds have been lost in North America alone since 1970. The new species census and updated Birds of Concern list are significant in helping us identify our most vulnerable species and where to focus our conservation efforts to bring our birds back.
In light of these findings, now seems like an apt time to revisit the “Seven Simple Actions to Help Birds” that all of us can do in our own home!
- Make windows safer.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Reduce your lawn and plant native species.
- Avoid pesticides.
- Drink bird-friendly coffee.
- Avoid single-use plastics.
- Participate in citizen science.
Adopting even one of these practices will go a long way toward making our world safer for birds—and all animals, including humans!