Tuesday, July 10, 2007

US Bird Populations Crashing

US Bird Populations CrashingCould Sparrows be the next species to make the endangered list? According to an Audubon Society report (covered by CNN), “Twenty common birds -- including the northern bobwhite, the field sparrow and the boreal chickadee -- have lost more than half their populations in the past 40 years.” Some species have taken a more dramatic hit than others. The bobwhite population has plummeted from 31 million in 1967 to 5.5 million, an 82 percent change.

Of course, it’s the usual suspects killing our birds: “agriculture, habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, global warming.” Why this matters for you, Mr. Average American, is the whole canary-in-the-coal-mine thing. “The health of a region's bird population is often a harbinger of the health of other wildlife and of human populations as well,” read the CNN article.

Biofuels (the sustainability of which I’m really
starting to question these days) were cited as a factor in the loss of bird populations. From CNN: “Some farmers are now using land once set aside for conservation to plant more corn for use as ethanol.”

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.