Birds, the thermometer of ecosystems, face their World Day in decline


Birds are "indicators of the health status of our environment" and, although they are the most documented faunistic group, up to 40% of their species remain in decline, notes the ONG SEO/Birdlife on the occasion of Bird Day, which is celebrated this weekend with various activities throughout Spain.


As the conservation organization explains in a statement, this year the intention is to highlight that birds "are our allies", since "thanks to them we can know the state of conservation of Nature", which constitutes a service "fundamental to guarantee a sustainable future".

In addition, it warns that, one more year, "highly endangered species continue to become extinct", while previously common and widespread birds "are in strong decline".

Among the most threatened or in a "most unfavourable" state in Spain, it highlights those associated with agricultural means, such as the sison, quail or red partridge, whose population decline is similar to that of other European countries.

A steeper decline in agricultural environments

This decline "has increased in all agricultural environments", except those in northern Spain, where at least "it has improved slightly".

In total, the fall is "close to 20%", which means "several million fewer birds" compared to the 1998-2018 decade.

This decline implies that at least 40% of bird species (3,967) worldwide have "negative growth", while 44% (4,393) remain stable and only 7% (653) is increasing, while the rest, by 8% (823) have "unknown trends".

Birds, quality of life indicators

The director of SEO/Birdlife, Asunción Ruiz, underlined in the statement that "at a time like the one we live in we cannot turn our backs on Nature", so on this World Bird Day 2020, both she and her organization will encourage citizens to "look at them and listen to what they tell us".

To ensure that "their songs continue to be heard loudly", and under the slogan 'Birds, quality of life indicators', SEO/Birdlife has organized more than 100 activities, including guided routes, conferences and "birding" points throughout Spain, which will adapt to "the COVID-19 protocols established in each locality to ensure health security measures".

In addition, participants will be able to be part of Natura Alert, a new application to record through mobile phones the threats that affect the Important Areas for The Conservation of Birds and Biodiversity (IBA), which will require the "essential" help of volunteers.

The situation of birds associated with urban environments is also negative, since species such as the common swallow, the common sparrow, the green serine, the common magpie and the common swift are "in moderate decline".

The good news is that others, such as the common aircraft, the blexed redhead, the black starling or the pale swift have managed to increase their population although in a "mild" way but, in general, urban birds have recorded a setback "close to 12% compared to the period 1998-2018".

The analysis of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List certifies the "constant and continuous deterioration" in the state of birds around the world since the first comprehensive assessment, dating back to 1988.