Why are bird populations plummeting? – This is a major question that must be put in the spotlight. It is an emerging issue in today’s world where every human being is running in the race for development and technology, without caring about the negative effects of our development on nature, natural resources and especially on the animal habitats of this planet.
Why Are Bird Populations Plummeting?
There is no single reason for the plummeting of bird populations. Multiple factors are playing their part to create this serious issue.
Pollution of course, is one of the leading causes of bird endangerment. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) survey, more than 80% of the bird populations living in urban areas are facing air quality levels that exceed the WHO’s limits. Industrial development has brought increased air pollution in the form of air mixed with poisonous chemicals that badly affects birds.
Similarly, beachgoers dump plastic bags and waste into the water, causing water pollution. According to different International surveys, approximately 15 to 51 trillion particles of microplastic are found in every ocean of the world, weighing from 93 to 236 thousand metric tons. These plastic particles are swallowed by shorebirds often resulting in their death. The death rate is increasing with time, causing the endangerment of different types of birds.
We all know that forests are home to many bird species. An increase in the number of trees increases the growth and populations of birds, but human development and expansion of urban areas are leading towards global deforestation. Cutting down trees makes birds homeless. Some even get killed in the process of cutting down the trees. Without trees, these homeless birds are forced to head towards cities and towns, causing a decrease in their natural reproduction and growth chances. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, almost 18 million acres of the forest are lost annually, which is currently “inevitable”. A lot of birds moved into urban areas because of deforestation, facing inappropriate environments, eventually killing them.
Hunting is obviously directly related to the killing of birds. Overhunting leads to the rapid plummeting many species’ populations. Illegal hunting also causes the loss of rare birds. Nearly 15 million waterfowls are killed by hunters in North America. Sometimes bird killings are committed by cats and other animals. Approximately 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds are caught and then killed by cats and other animals in the U.S which leads to further decreases.
Increase in Technology
Yes, human development and an increase in technology are also reasons for the higher mortality rate of birds. According to the Wildlife Society, 573,000 birds are killed by wind turbines in the U.S. High tension electric wires are also known to kill birds in high numbers. According to studies and surveys, approximately 8 to 57 million birds are killed annually by collisions with high tension electric wires, and 0.9 to 11.6 million birds are killed by electrocution.
Collisions happen when migratory birds move from one region to another. This includes collisions with cars, planes, windows, network towers, and other unnatural obstacles. About 15% of all road kills in the U.S are birds. Moreover, birds get killed by planes, too. In 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration reported 13,159 incidents in which planes struck and killed at least one bird. Birds crashing into windows result in the death of 365 to 988 million birds annually. Sometimes birds do struck network and communication Towers and lose their lives. Approximately 7 million birds are killed in collisions with these towers annually in North America.
The issue of plummeting bird populations requires urgent attention to avoid an eventual disaster.
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