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View From Sapsucker Woods: Let’s Flip the Pink Dots Blue


    eBird trends map--a gray map with red and blue dots and an illustration of a Chimney Swift, a dark brown bird, in flight. Arrow made up of red and blue dots points to the bird.
    Base map is from eBird Tendencies, the place pink dots point out Chimney Swift inhabitants declines and blue dots (i.e., in New England) point out will increase. View the total eBird Tendencies map.

    From the Winter 2023 concern of Residing Fowl journal. Subscribe now.

    Don’t it at all times appear to go
    that you simply don’t know what you’ve received until it’s gone?
    They paved paradise, and put up a parking zone
    —Large Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell 

    Joni Mitchell wrote these lyrics in 1970, in response to the destruc­tion of pure forests in Hawaii. Since then, North America has misplaced a 3rd of its total hen inhabitants. Uncommon and customary species alike. An enormous, silent ecological disaster numbering bil­lions of birds throughout a complete continent. And it continues right this moment.

    eBIrd trends map for the Bald Eagle. Map with red and blue dots and illustration of a Bald Eagle--a big dark brown bird with a white head and yellow legs and feet.
    eBIrd developments map for the Bald Eagle. Illustration by Ian Willis/Birds of the World.

    This devastating message is viscerally demonstrated in two latest initiatives wherein the Cornell Lab of Ornithology performed a lead function. In October, the 2022 U.S. State of the Birds Report quantified the decline in hen popu­lations throughout virtually each habitat, and recognized 70 Tipping Level species—at present unprotected birds which have misplaced half of their inhabitants since 1970 and are predicted to lose one other half within the subsequent 50 years. They embody what many people would possibly regard as on a regular basis birds, like Allen’s Hummingbird, Chim­ney Swift, Golden-winged Warbler, and Bobolink. The report makes clear that if we don’t act now, we is not going to hand on these species to our grandchildren.

    eBIrd trends map for the Bobolink. Map with red and blue dots and illustration of a male Bobolink--a black and white bird with a splot of yellow on its head.
    eBIrd developments map for the Bobolink. Illustration by Tim Worfolk/Birds of the World.

    In November, the Cornell Lab launched the subsequent technology of eBird Tendencies maps, which contained extra sobering information. The info visualizations use machine-learning strategies to ana­lyze a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of observations by eBird citizen scientists and map out inhabitants developments for over 500 species. Blue dots present inhabitants will increase, pink dots sign declines. Many maps are a sea of pink dots. I urge you: Have a look at these maps. Choose your favourite birds and click on via them. Inform me what you see and what you are feeling.

    My hope has been given substance by latest analyses exhibiting how it’s potential to bend the curve for biodi­versity—to reverse historic declines in populations, and do it earlier than it’s too late. These analyses present bending the curve requires three issues: conserva­tion of weak habitats and species, large-scale restoration of ecosystems for biodiversity and carbon seize, and extra sustainable manufacturing and use of sources by people. I imagine the eBird Tendencies information are a turning level on this respect as a result of they permit us to focus on conservation much more exactly than earlier than, to observe the success of restoration initiatives, and to search out the neatest methods to get a stability between nature and human actions.