WASHINGTON (GRAY DC) - The number of North America birds is taking a nose-dive.
"Common birds are disappearing and disappearing at a rate that we didn't realize," American Bird Conservancy president Michael Parr said.
Parr helped work on a study published in the journal Science finding nearly one-third of North America's bird population disappeared over the last 50 years.
He said destruction of bird habitats and pesticides are contributing factors.
Parr finds light pollution, or too much artificial light, and tall glass buildings are also to blame.
Birds use stars for migration, and city lights disrupt their flight. They are attracted to these lights and can’t see through glass, causing them to crash into buildings.
“We still have some time to turn this around, but this is a wakeup call," Parr said.
He said buildings can use patterned glass so birds can see the windows, and lights can be turned off at night.
Individuals can help at home by placing decals or tape on windows.
But why should people care about saving our flighty friends? Parr says birds can play an important role in the food chain.
“If that food web gets out of balance, it’s going to cause all sort of problems in nature," Parr said.
New Hampshire congresswoman Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) agrees. That’s why she co-sponsored the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
She says this would push out over $1 billion in federal funding to states to help with wildlife recovery efforts and conservation projects.
“It’s much easier to protect and save a species that’s threatened then a species that’s fully endangered," Kuster said.
The bill has the support of over 160 U.S. House members.