Bird EXTINCTION warning: Bald eagles are almost on the brink as 1 in 4 US poultry disappears | Nature | News

According to a study, the bald eagle population is declining due to lead poisoning. After recovering from a near extinction, scientists at Cornell University fear the latest problem could bring them back to the brink.

Researchers said bald eagle population growth in the northeast was down by up to six percent.

This is believed to be due to the birds eating bullet ammunition from the organs of other animals left behind after being shot by hunters.

Krysten Schuler, assistant research professor in Cornell University’s Department of Public Health and Ecosystems and lead author of the study, said the problem could push the bald eagle population down to feared levels of extinction. .

She said: “Even though the population appears to have recovered, a disturbance could occur and cause the eagles to decline further.”

The bald eagle – which has been the national bird of the United States since 1782 – was declared endangered by the federal government in 1978.

After a slow recovery, they were delisted in 2007. In 2021, it emerged that the legendary predator’s population had quadrupled over a 12-year period, according to a recent US Fish and Wildlife Service survey, which was examined. by Cornell University.

There are now over 316,000 bald eagles in the continental United States, including over 70,000 breeding pairs.

This figure represents more than four times the 72,434 individuals and 30,548 pairs recorded in 2009, and more than seven times more than in 2007.

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Additionally, the team added that owls, crows and coyotes were also eating contaminated meat and contracting lead poisoning.

Ms Schuler said: ‘We haven’t collected data on these other species in the same way that we pay attention to eagles.

“We present eagles as a sort of poster boy for this problem, but they are not the only ones affected.”

A separate 2021 study found that bald eagles are also at risk from poison used to eradicate rats.

More than 80% of dead bald and golden eagles examined between 2014 and 2018 had rodenticide in their system.


In 2019, US researchers estimated the total volume of avian losses in the Western Hemisphere and believe a shocking one in four birds went missing.

The study, led by Cornell Lab of Ornithology conservation scientist Ken Rosenberg, estimated that North America is home to nearly three billion fewer birds today than it was in 1970.

The team analyzed the breeding population of 529 species by combining data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, US Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl surveys and 10 other datasets.

They also analyzed more recent data collected by weather radar technology that can track large groups of birds as they migrate to estimate their numbers.

Weather radars have indicated a 14% decrease in spring migratory nocturnal birds in the past decade alone.

Using models integrating all the data, they estimated the net number of birds lost over time, in various habitats and bird groups.

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) State of the UK’s Birds (SUKB) report in 2020, there are 83 million pairs of native breeding birds in the UK.

This report notes that the figure is 19 million fewer couples since widespread surveillance began in the late 1960s.

This figure is similar to that presented in the 2012 SUKB report, based on previous documentation from the Avian Population Estimates Panel (APEP), which argued, in terms of total numbers of breeding birds, that the period of relative stability that started in the 1990s continues.

Despite significant conservation successes, around a third of all albatross and petrel species found in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are threatened with global extinction due to bycatch fishing and predation by introduced predatory mammals such as mice.

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