Researchers say, due to their habitats decreasing or becoming inhabitable, birds are declining in number. Besides, the effects of climate change are being considered as the new reason behind the reduction in the number of birds.
The research report stated, globally the number of 4,295 species or 29 per cent of all bird species remained unaffected. That means, their total number is neither increasing nor decreasing. In contrast, only 676 or 6 per cent of all bird species are rising in number.
However, researchers couldn’t comprehend despite investigation, whether bird population of the remaining species are increasing or decreasing.
Researchers say the information that is being found on bird population of the world going down, is uncoordinated. In other words, the information from all regions around the world wasn't balanced. They found the best statistics in North America.
Among the 529 bird species of North America, a declining trend was found in 57 per cent or 303 species. Three billion (300 crore) birds have decreased in North America, compared to the year 1970.
The condition of the species connected to meadows is the worst. And the decline in migratory birds’ population is visible the most. In North America, birds of 419 species have decreased. Researchers observed similar trends in Europe and Australia as well.
The report does not mention the state of birds in Bangladesh separately. But there are statistics of neighboring India. It said in India, the population of 146 bird species is declining while population of six species is remaining unchanged.
In Bangladesh, there are 715 species of birds. Out of them, birds of 50 species are in danger, according to the list of International Union for Conservation of Nature, an association of organisations working towards nature conservation.
When asked about birds of Bangladesh, Inam Al Haque, a bird expert and chairman of Bangladesh Bird Club told Prothom Alo, as Bangladesh is a small country with a large population, there’s only a little space left for birds to build their habitats or roam around freely. Except for the Sundarbans, there are no other bird sanctuaries in the country, he added.
Spreading wings everywhere
Globally, birds live everywhere around the world. The abundance of bird species is more in the tropical regions. Usually, birds are seen almost all over the world. Birds live on both poles based on seasons. There are even birds living on the furthest edge of the ocean’s basin.
Birds are noticed on the most barren deserts or on the highest mountains of the world as well. This unique ability to spread everywhere is rare in the animal world.
Why birds are endangered
Researchers have marked quite a few reasons behind the global decline in bird population. Continuous rise in population and increased use of land are ruining birds’ primary habitats, which is resulting in the decline of bird varieties.
A total of 165 species of bird across the world have become endangered simply because of change in the use of land. Bird habitats have become divided into smaller parts in many cases due to change in land-use. In this way, the quality of their habitat has declined.
One of the main reasons behind bird species going extinct in the tropical regions is the shrinking of their habitats. Tree felling, wildfires, extensive grazing of domestic animals, are also threats to birds.
Birds are hunted almost all over the globe, for consumption, sport and trade. Plus, people fishing in the sea choose birds as their additional hunt.
In the research, 971 foreign species of birds have been found in 230 countries and administrative areas. In some cases these foreign species of birds migrated voluntarily while in some other cases people brought them deliberately.
Some foreign species pose threats for local species. Besides, bird diseases are also threats for the bird population.
Infrastructure construction, mineral oil extraction, pollution and agricultural pesticides have turned into consistent threats for birds. In addition, the effects of climate change are being considered as a new threat.
Researchers say, the global telecommunication business also has turned into a threat to bird life.
According to those researchers, causes of different bird species’ endangerment have been identified globally and locally in many regions locally. There are initiatives for bird conservation, albeit inadequate. It is now imperative to increase local, regional and global initiatives to protect birds.
*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Nourin Ahmed Monisha