Five Bird Species Your Grandchildren May Never See, But Wish They Could

Wood Thrush by Mike Parr
Wood Thrush by Mike Parr

(Washington, D.C., August 15, 2013) Scientists who have spent decades trying to reverse the broad decline of migratory birds in the Americas will converge by the hundreds later this month in Snowbird, Utah, to seek solutions to the threats migratory birds are facing at northern breeding grounds, southern wintering grounds, and numerous migration stopovers.

The pivotal August 25–28 meeting of the bird conservation partnership, Partners in Flight (PIF), will look at progress in the struggle to conserve critical habitats, launch new conservation efforts, and form new alliances to conserve birds throughout the Americas. The meeting includes members of over 100 organizations from 16 countries across North, Central, and South America.

George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, says the coming meeting could affect the fate of several of the most rapidly declining migratory bird species found in the Western Hemisphere. “The stakes are quite high,” said Fenwick. “Many migratory birds are far less common than they were in the early 1990s, when the effort to reverse these broad declines was launched. This is true in part because the details surrounding the migration of many of these birds has been a mystery until recently—and that have made it difficult to take corrective actions.”

Fenwick says a number of new conservation measures could be launched or developed at the PIF V meeting. If they aren't, Fenwick said, the outlook for migratory bird species will darken, such as for these five that face significant challenges to long-term survival:

“The most important aspect of the Partners in Flight meeting will be our focus on the full annual life-cycle of these long-distance travelers,” said Ken Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a leader in the PIF initiative. “The actions proposed at the international gathering will affect habitats on these species' tropical wintering grounds as well as their breeding habitats in North America.” He added that meeting participants will develop conservation strategies focusing on eight geographically based work sessions.

Terrell D. Rich, Partners in Flight National Coordinator, says that effective bird conservation has got to involve more than just the scientific community. “It's critical that scientists find a way to mobilize the many millions of people who watch and feed birds to become active in bird conservation. We really, really need their help.”

“Many of these species need us to take action, now, but the simple truth is that people need them just as much, and probably much more. They are our guardians. Without them, we are lost,” said Tom Will, Wildlife Biologist and Partners in Flight Coordinator for the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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