No one likes to hear the “E” word. Extinct. Unfortunately, several bird populations are inching closer to a new classification.
But here on CT Boom, we prefer to let you down gently.
So, the good news is that several species are beginning to make a comeback. The bad news is that more birds are suffering population declines thanks to deforestation, construction, and a general loss of habitat. The most worrying is that one Connecticut breed is heading toward extinction.
The birds to have made a comeback mostly dwell in freshwater wetlands thanks to a recent spate in conservation: Bobolinks, Great Blue Herons, Upland Sandpipers, Grasshopper Sparrows, American Oystercatchers, and Eastern Meadowlarks. Prairie Warblers and Indigo Buntings have also increased their numbers.
The Connecticut Audubon Society said that while the number of Piping Plovers have increased, they remain highly vulnerable due to a continual loss of nesting grounds.
Birds on the decline are mostly “Shrubland species:” Clapper Rails, Field Sparrows, Blue-winged Warblers, and Brown Thrasher. The Society found that the species suffer about a 5 percent population loss a YEAR. They found that their primary nesting areas, shrubs, have been lost to lawn developments or the areas have grown into mature forests.
However, the most worrying aspect of the annual report was the inevitable extinction of the Saltmarsh Sparrow. The organization found that rising sea-levels and a loss of nesting areas has contributed to the bird’s diminishing numbers. They predict that, should intervention fail, the species will be extinct in 50 years.
Milan G. Bull, Connecticut Audubon’s senior director of science and conservation, was particularly upset about the possible extinction and said; “There’s no way to characterize that as anything but a disaster.”
That finding is particularly devastating because it would mark the first avian extinction in the U.S. in nearly a century. The Heath Hen was confirmed extinct in 1931.
Despite the depressing report, Nelson North, executive director of Connecticut Audubon, is remaining positive. He believes that this report will help rally a new era of wildlife conservation efforts, “This 11th Connecticut State of the Birds report is an eye-opener. It clearly shows that the future of avian diversity and abundance in our state will depend on the public will to conserve these resources.”
The Society affirmed that the public needs to act immediately in order to ensure that future generations can enjoy Connecticut’s diverse bird population for years to come.