We live in an amazing time. We are witnessing an increase in life expectancy, technological progress, space missions and the population of robots closest to the planet Earth. However, along with the growth of prosperity, the development of technology and breakthroughs in medicine, entire species of plants and animals are dying on our planet. A new study by Cornell University and the American Poultry Service has provided disappointing data: the number of birds in North America and Canada has fallen by 29% over the past 50 years.
Where did the swallows and sparrows go?
September 1, 1914 the last of his kind diedpassenger pigeon. The hunt for these birds, which used to be the most common pigeon species in the world, was very popular. No one noticed how they disappeared from the face of the earth. Unfortunately, history repeats itself - and all over the world. A study that analyzes ten-year data on North American birds suggests that bird populations on the continent have declined by 29 percent since 1970.
“This is a critical study,” saysNicole Michelle, environmentalist at the Audubon National Society. The most amazing thing is that the most common species have suffered the most. We observe the disappearance of not rare and endangered species, but ordinary ones adapted to humans. The research team found that 90% of the missing species came from 12 families. These are sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, finches, larks, starlings and swallows.
In trouble is the dark-eyed yunko - a type of sparrow andone of the most common types. Even birds that are renowned for their ruggedness and adaptability, such as the house sparrow and European starling, are at risk. Scientists note that there are still many birds in North America and Canada. However, their number has decreased markedly. It turns out that today three billion beaks do not catch insects. Three billion wings move less pollen and other nutrients around the world. We have not just lost the birds, we have lost what they do. According to experts, our forests and gardens will become quieter every year.
Have you noticed that in our country there are fewer birds? How long have you seen sparrows? Join the discussion on this topic in our Telegram chat.
Sixth mass extinction of wildlife
We recently wrote that scientists around the worldseriously concerned about the state of biodiversity on the planet. A number of experts call the current situation the sixth mass extinction of wildlife. A third of terrestrial species are declining, including those for which we are least worried. There are also fewer insects, however, it is difficult to say anything specific about them, since scientists do not have accurate data on their population. Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecological Systems (IPBES) published a report, according to which 1 million species are at risk of extinction.
In their study, scientists used dataa meteorological network to show that the number of birds migrating through America’s night sky has decreased by 14% since 2007. It is important. The radar not only provides another line of evidence independent of more traditional surveys, but also identifies species that miss these surveys, such as coastal birds breeding in the Arctic. This increases the confidence of specialists that a decrease in the number of some species of birds is actually happening.
Why are birds getting smaller?
New study says nothing aboutthe reasons for this decline in bird populations. However, the universally recognized fact is the loss of habitat and its degradation. These are the largest factors contributing to the reduction in the number of birds on the planet. Pasture species of birds were the most affected. As vast amounts of land were converted into agricultural land, planted with non-native plants and contaminated with harmful pesticides, 700 million birds disappeared.
It’s hard to pinpoint how many birds diedue to loss of habitat or the use of pesticides, extinction of insects or climate change. Other threats are easier to quantify. One of the biggest problems in the modern world is an increase in the cat population. Our four-legged friends are recognized by scientists as an invasive species - this means that there are so many cats on Earth that they pose a serious threat to the environment - every year they kill about 2.4 billion birds.
Interesting: Cats in Australia have killed a billion animals in a year. How did it come about?
But there are other reasons, among whichcollisions with windows - killing 600 million birds, cars - 214 million, power lines kill 32 million, and the lights of industrial towers distract about 6 million birds every year. Scientists note that the disappearance of a large number of birds is affected by all factors in the aggregate.
According to experts, politicalwill and action to fill the devastated sky. The restriction on the use of pesticides and the restriction on hunting can significantly improve the situation. Scientists are convinced that when people come together and take the necessary measures, it is possible to reverse the reduction in the number of animals and prevent a catastrophe.
Do you think such studies are being conducted in our country?