I recently came across the new 2009 State of the Birds Report, thanks to Dave Magpiong's post to the New Jersey Birding listserv, and wanted to share this with the birding community at large. Of course my hope is that you already know about this, but if you don't take a look at the Sate of the Birds.org website and download the report. Please make sure you also share this with your birding and non-birding friends alike!
There is also a 6 and half minute video to watch. Pretty interesting and great cinematography. According the the narrator this is an unprecedented (meaning that Federal Government wildlife agencies and conservation organizations teamed up) first ever comprehensive State of the birds Report. Other interesting notes I gleaned from the video; of the species found in the United States, 67 are Federally listed as endangered and/or threatened. 184 are listed as conservation concern "due to their small distribution, significant threat or rapidly declining population."
The report covers "the state of the" habitat, "birds in trouble" by habitat, "major threats", "reasons for hope" and potential solutions, among a variety of other information birders should be knowledgeable about. Habitats covered are aridlands, grasslands, forest, arctic & alpine, wetlands, coasts and oceans. Also a section on the Hawaiian islands. With in habitat sections there are "spotlight"s on various other groupings such as urban birds and upland game birds. Lastly a section focusing on the challenges that birds and the environment face.
As we all know, and have known as evidenced by miners taking canaries into mine shafts, birds are one of natures best indicator species. Extensive reports such as this help inform the scientific minded as well as the layman on, well, the state of the birds. It is important that we remember that we "vote" every day on the importance of the environment with the products we purchases, the organizations we choose to support and the help in monitoring species abundance and diversity through professional work or citizen science.
As a last note, do yourself a favor and click on the full screen option on the video in the lower right hand corner.