Large-scale multi-species data on population changes of alpine or arctic species are largely lacking. Here we present a multi-national bird indicator for the Fennoscandian mountain range in northern Europe (Finland, Sweden and Norway), based on 14 common species of montane tundra and subalpine birch forest. The data were collected at 262 alpine survey plots, mainly as a part of geographically representative national breeding bird monitoring schemes. The area sampled covers around 1/4 million km2, spanning 10 degrees of latitude and 1600 km in a northeast–southwest direction. During 2002–2012, nine of the 14 bird species declined significantly in numbers, in parallel to higher summer temperatures and precipitation during this period compared to the preceding 40 yr. The population trends were largely parallel in the three countries and similar among montane tundra and subalpine birch forest species. Long-distance migrants declined less on average than residents and short-distance migrants.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is using systemic imidacloprid to treat eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis [L.] Carr.) infested with the exotic insect, hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand). This study investigated effects of these treatments on insectivorous birds and hemlock canopy arthropod assemblages in the context of food availability for insectivorous birds. Six pairs of treated and untreated hemlock sites were studied in 2007. Territories of three hemlock-associated Neotropical migratory foliage-gleaning bird species were mapped in these six sites, and relationships between bird territory density and hemlock foliar density were examined. Canopy arthropods were sampled by clipping mid-canopy hemlock branches in each paired site. Arthropods were identified to order or suborder and categorized into bird prey guilds and non-target herbivorous insect guilds.
Scientists from the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Natural Research have revealed the startling decline in bird populations in the State of UK Birds 2013 report. The mountain species dotterel (Charadrius morinellus), one of the rarest breeds in Britain – with two-thirds living in the Cairngorms – has declined by about 40 per cent in just over a decade. The results found that the estimated number of dotterels had fallen from 630 breeding males in 1999, to just 423 breeding males in 2011, continuing a longer-term decline since the first survey in 1987-88, which estimated the number of breeding males at 981. Other declines of population include the lapwing, a bird of farmland and wetland which has endured a 41 per cent population decline since 1995. The snipe, a wetland bird, has seen its breeding range shrunk by 31 per cent over the last 40 years. The population of grey partridge – another farmland bird – has declined by 53 per cent since 1995, while the corn bunting population has declined by 34 per cent since 1995. The turtle dove, which is not native in Scotland, has suffered a 51 per cent decline in the rest of the UK over the last 40 years. Mark Eaton, of RSPB, said: “Scotland’s Highlands provide an important home for dotterel and the species’ presence offers a good indicator of the health of our mountain landscapes. To see such a significant drop in their numbers over the past three decades is deeply concerning.
Environmental authorities are worried about a huge reduction in Norway’s estimated number of the large bird known as rype (white grouse, or ptarmigan). They say that stocks registered by researchers were cut in half from 2002 to 2012.
Norwegian researchers tracking bird hatchings have been cooperating with colleagues in Sweden and Finland to register fjellrype in a mountain area covering around 250,000 square kilometers. For the first time, reports news bureau NTB, they’ve detected a sharp decline.
I know the answer to the question in the headline, but almost no one will believe me. The drastic decline in the quail (Coturnix coturnix) population throughout the South has been a passionate concern of mine for many years. The tragic and drastic decline in quail and other field-bird populations is the result of the massive and widespread spraying of herbicides by agriculture and forestry industries. I am as sure of this as I am that night follows day. There is a curious and almost hostile resistance to this assertion. I have written many letters to various groups and agencies that assume an authoritative role in such problems, but my efforts are always met with an almost hostile indifference. More specifically, I believe that Quail Unlimited and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Deptartment are more a part of the problem than the solution. To my knowledge, they have no experimental data to support their position that herbicides have no significant effect on field-bird populations. I have suggested that Quail Unlimited spray their Quail Demonstration Project acreages with herbicide and see what happens, but they declined.
The number of migrating golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) through Montana’s Bridger Mountains, the top fall golden eagle migration route in the Lower 48, has dropped 35 to 40 percent over the past two decades, mirroring similar declines at migrating raptor count sites elsewhere in the West and raising concerns for Montana Audubon, which conducts the surveys. Steve Hoffman, executive director of Montana Audubon, says the declines in southwest Montana are being documented in migrating golden eagles, which could indicate habitat loss in wintering grounds in the United States or problems in breeding areas in Canada and Alaska. The decline in numbers of golden eagles has been documented in annual raptor counts conducted at Bridger Bowl Ski Area near Bozeman since 1992. Each year, from Sept. 1 to late October or early November, two official observers count raptors from a helicopter-landing platform at an elevation of 8,600 feet. In the 2013 survey, which concluded earlier this month, the trend of declining golden eagles continued with 1,131 golden eagles counted compared to 1,272 in 2012. In 1992, the first full year of survey results, 1,579 golden eagles were recorded. In 1999, the last year counters recorded a high number of eagles, 1,870 golden eagles were spotted. "Our data in the Bridgers has determined it is a problem,” Hoffman said. Since the late 1990s, the number of birds counted has declined 35 to 40 percent, the survey results show.
Once described as the “Switzerland of England”, the Forest of Bowland offers an ideal habitat for the peregrine falcon. With its rocky outcrops and vast tracts of upland, it was until recently home to a thriving population of some 15 pairs of Britain’s fastest bird of prey. But almost as rapidly as Falco peregrinus sweeps from the sky to secure its quarry, the number of the species in the 880-square-kilometre beauty spot stretching across Lancashire has plummeted. In just five years, the population has tumbled from 30 birds to just a single breeding pair. The dramatic decline has set alarm bells ringing among conservationists, who point out that there are now more of these graceful predators living in England’s cities than across a vast swathe of the North stretching from the Peak District to the Yorkshire Moors and the Pennines.
The manumea bird (Didunculus strigirostris), which is endemic to Samoa and its national bird, is feared near extinction after a 10-day survey of the Savai’i uplands by a group of scientists resulted in just one sighting. An ornithologist, Rebecca Stirnemann, says she was hoping the manumea, a close relative of the dodo, would be abundant there - with the largely untouched cloud forest acting as a last refuge for the endangered species. But she says the manumea population is much smaller than what was anticipated. She says because of a lack of research as to what could be causing the population’s rapid decline, it is hard to know what can be done. “The manumea, we still know very little about. In fact we don’t even know if the nests are on the ground or high up a tree. So we have no biological information on their breeding, which makes it quite difficult to say well what’s eating it, why are we not seeing any chicks, why are numbers declining? Is it because there’s no food, there’s been a lot of habitat loss, but then it could be invasive species.” Rebecca Stirnemann says they are now doing a survey to find out how many manumea are left in Samoa by targeting areas where local people have reported seeing them.
Just two pairs attempted to nest this year in England, but both failed. At one of these sites the RSPB was working with the landowner to ensure the nest was protected. Sadly, the eggs never hatched. No new hen harriers this season means that the hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) is one the brink of extinction in England. The news of the nest failure follows the publication in May of the State of Nature report which showed that 60 per cent of those wildlife species which are monitored are declining across the UK. In 2011, the Government published ‘Biodiversity 2020’ (the revised England Biodiversity Strategy). In this strategy the Government made a clear commitment that there should be no extinction of an English wild species at the hands of man. This mirrors an international commitment under the Convention of Biological Diversity. Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, added: “With no birds nesting successfully this year, the hen harrier is clearly on the brink of extinction in England. We are eager to hear proposals from DEFRA about how the hen harrier can be restored to its rightful place on the English uplands.”
A new study finds a dramatic decline in the already endangered Hawaiian Creeper (Oreomystis mana). Scientists at the University of Hawaii say the bird's population plunged 63 percent from 2001 to 2007. Part of the problem is that only about a quarter of the Creepers are female, and scientists say there are not enough females to keep the species thriving. The Creepers are found in the southern portion of the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Hawaii.The Hawaii Creeper is an important insect predator, helping to control the bug population. There may be fewer than 1,000 left on the Big Island.