House FinchThree Billion Birds Gone

A study published recently in the journal Science, has found that the population of breeding birds in the US and Canada has dropped by nearly 30% (or 3 billion birds) since 1970. The study is a collaboration between avian and conservation scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy.

While there are some discouraging findings about overall bird populations in the study, there are encouraging examples of how galvanized human effort can work to bring back our birds. Examples include Raptors (+200%), Waterfowl (+56%) and Woodpeckers (+18%). You can indeed make a difference.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology has released several resources on "7 Simple Actions to Help Birds" shown below:

  • Making Windows Safer to help birds avoid window strikes.
  • Keep Cats Indoors.  It’s also healthier for them to remain inside.
  • Plant Natives and pollinator plants that provide the nectar, seeds, fruits and insects that sustain our local and migratory birds.   
  • Drink Bird-Friendly Coffee.
  • Watch Birds! Citizen Science Projects like Cornell’s the Great Backyard Bird Count and Project FeederWatch offer opportunities for bird watching in millions of backyards across North America. This information is crucial to help scientists track long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
  • Avoid Pesticides.
  • Plastics. Use recycled plastic products, including bird feeders made of recycled plastic.

The hope is this information can motivate people to take actions that will help to make their home and lifestyle more bird-friendly. Happy Bird Feeding!

Additional Resources:

(Kathy and her husband, John, own and operate the Wild Birds Unlimited, located in Billings and at  She is a past president of the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society.)