Someone just commented to this blog about not seeing as many whippoorwills as usual. That fits with what's happening to about a third of the 800 species of birds in the U.S. that are declining, threatened or endangered.
Last week John Hoskins, Missouri Dept. of Conservation Director, spoke alongside Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he announced our nation's first "State of the Birds Report." I was in Washington D.C., as was the Director, at a meeting of fish and wildlife agencies at the time. The report certainly was discussed at the meeting, but it's important to everyone-not just biologists.
The bad news is that loss of habitat and invasive species are taking a toll. It's especially bad in Hawaii. The good news is that some kinds of birds, such as ducks, have shown that they can thrive if people work to ensure good places for them to live, nest and feed. The idea that 'if you build it, they will come' holds true for birds as well as people. For birds, though, the 'building' is creating healthy habitat. Fortunately, having clean water and healthy forests and fields is good for people as well as birds.