2022 State of the Birds Report Released
The 2022 State of the Birds Report from the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) highlights the need for cross-boundary habitat conservation as bird numbers show general declines nationwide.
In the Intermountain West, the report draws attention to the continuing declines of aridland birds (think sagebrush-dependent species like sage grouse) as a result of “unrelenting habitat threats.” These threats—fire and invasives, drought, development, etc.—often particularly impact public lands, which provide the majority of aridland bird habitat across the sagebrush sea.
Western forest birds also are declining, according to the report, with at least 19 species with imperiled habitats showing population hits. These imperiled habitats coincide with forests stressed from drought, conifer overgrowth, and a lack of forest diversity due to the loss of disturbance like fire. The good news? Investments in forest restoration may be able to help turn around the outlook for forests and the bird species that depend on them.
The report indicates that populations of wetland-dependent species are looking better nationwide thanks to decades of habitat recovery and water quality improvements. However, these trends may not apply in the Intermountain West, where drought and wetland drying are leading to the rapid loss of wetland habitat.
Visit https://www.stateofthebirds.org/2022/ to dive deeper into the report—and what it means for habitat conservation needs across the Intermountain West.