Birds in Trouble

Birds in Trouble

Birds in Trouble

Birds in Trouble


As oil was washing up on the shores of Louisiana, covering shorebirds and their nests and eggs after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Lynn Barber decided to write this book to heighten awareness, not only of the plight of bird species that are declining in numbers every year, but also of the ways in which the birds we see every day may also face the same fate.

First explaining the idea of birds "in trouble"--and what that means in terms of population, conservation status, and national and international designations--the book then turns to the habitats that are important to birds, how they are affected by changes in these habitats, and what ordinary people can do to help counter those negative effects. Barber then profiles forty-two species that are in trouble in the United States, discussing the likely reasons why and what, if anything, we can do to improve their situations. Illustrated throughout with the author's signature bird art, the book closes with a reminder about what we can do to ensure that the birds we see every day in our yards, parks, and communities will remain with us.


When this book was just a dream beginning to take shape in my mind, oil was washing up on the shores of Louisiana, covering Brown Pelicans, their nests, and their eggs. Whooping Cranes had recently suffered a dramatic dieoff due to lack of food at their wintering spots in coastal Texas. It was spring, and migrating shorebirds were once again facing a reduction in their breeding habitats as they returned to the United States from the south.

So many bird species (as well as other animals and many plants) are declining in numbers, year by year. Many bird species are at, or are nearing, such low numbers that their ultimate fate is uncertain at best. Serious, thoughtful books have been written about this problem, many people are working to make a difference, and ways to stop or reverse the trends in the different species have been suggested. But many of the problems persist and worsen.

Although environmental problems, like many other major, long-standing problems around the world, are not likely to be solved by any one of us or by any group of us or to be solved quickly, it is worthwhile to try to work toward solutions. There are things we can do that can make a difference. This book is aimed at encouraging each of us to do something, to take action, to be part of improving the plight of birds, both those that are endangered and those that are around our homes and parks every day. I hope that each of you will try to learn about birds, about the problems, and about what can be done, so that we all will be on the side of the environment, rather than giving up without trying or, even worse, unashamedly being part of the problem.

There are four main sections in this book. the first section, “The Importance of Bird Habitat,” provides general information on some of the main habitats that are important for birds, as well as examples of how birds have been and are being affected by changes in these habitats. the next section, “What Can Be Done to Help Birds,” gives examples of general actions that people can take to help birds, including actions that can benefit endangered birds. the “Species Accounts of Birds in Trouble” section aims to make you, the reader, aware of selected examples of birds in the United States that are in trouble and the likely reasons for the trouble, and it presents ways for all of . . .

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