American Bird Conservancy Report Documents Top 20 Most Threatened Bird Habitats

Multi-Billion Dollar Benefits of Bird Watching At Risk (Washington, D.C.) Significant portions of the American landscape are no longer providing adequate habitat for many native bird species, according to the Top 20 Most Threatened Bird Habitats in the United States, a new report by American Bird Conservancy (ABC). ABC’s report is available online at “Millions of Americans love to watch birds, whether on organized outings or in their own backyards,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. “Without action to conserve these dwindling habitats, there will be fewer and fewer bird species for everyone to enjoy.” Hawaiian forests topped the list as the most threatened bird habitat, where 30 Hawaiian birds are listed under the Endangered Species Act as Endangered or Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Rainforests in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, Florida wetlands, longleaf pine forests in the Southeast, tallgrass prairies in the Midwest, sagebrush in the Intermountain West, coastal beaches, and seabird nesting islands were all among the most threatened habitats. The primary causes for the loss of the 20 most threatened bird habitats include invasive species, sprawling development, fire suppression, agriculture, deforestation, poor habitat management, overgrazing, pesticides, and water diversion. The report identifies threats in each habitat, lists birds of high conservation concern, and offers solutions and opportunities to restore lost habitat. Bird watching and other wildlife viewing by 66 million Americans contribute $43 billion annually to the nation’s economy, according to a 2006 report by the Outdoor Industry Foundation. Retail sales of birding gear, birding trips, and state and federal tax receipts comprise a substantial portion of this. “As well as a biological imperative, it makes good economic sense to conserve bird habitats,” said Fenwick. “In addition to the direct economic benefits of bird watching, birds play an important role in maintaining the ecosystems on which humans ultimately depend.” The most threatened habitats include: 1. Hawaiian Forests 2. Open Ocean/Sea Bird Nesting Islands 3. Sagebrush (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, and NV) 4. Edwards Plateau Savannah (Central Texas) 5. Southwest Riparian (AZ, NM, CA, NV, and TX) 6. Tallgrass Prairies (IL, IN, OH, MO, KS, and IA) 7. Coastal Beaches and Marshes (U.S. coastline) 8. Gulf Coast Prairie (LA and TX) 9. Lake Wales Oak Ridge Scrub (Central Florida) 10. Mixed Longleaf Pine/Bottomland Hardwood Forest (NC, SC, GA, FL, MS, and AL) 11. Great Plains Wetlands (MN, ND, SD, NE) 12. California’s Central Valley (CA) 13. Florida Wetlands (FL) 14. Chaparral (CA) 15. Shortgrass Prairie (KS, NE, CO, OK, TX, and NM) 16. Bottomland Hardwood Forest (LA, AR, MS, and TN) 17. Ponderosa Pine (MT, ID, OR, and WA) 18. Oak Savannah (OR, WA, and CA) 19. Early Successional/Eastern Deciduous Forests (eastern states) 20. Northwest Rainforest (AK, BC, OR, WA, and CA) The Top 20 Most Threatened Bird Habitats in the U.S. is available at # 30 # ABC is the only 501(c)(3) organization that works solely to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, while building capacity in the conservation movement. ABC is the voice for birds, ensuring that they are adequately protected; that sufficient funding is available for bird conservation; and that land is protected and properly managed to maintain viable habitat. ABC is a membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.