Take Action to Save Hummingbirds
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The Rufous hummingbird, one of the smallest and feistiest species, has lost two-thirds of its population since 1970, and it's not alone. Take action for hummingbirds!
Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating and beautiful bird species in North America, but they're also among the most endangered. According to the 2022 State of the Birds report1, the Rufous hummingbird, one of the smallest and feistiest species, has lost two-thirds of its population since 1970. Unfortunately, it's just one of 70 bird species on the "Tipping Point" list that could lose another 50% of their populations if conservation efforts aren't improved2.
The "Tipping Point" list includes ten of the seventy bird species that lost more than half their populations since 1970 and are predicted to lose 50% more within the next five decades. These species are:
- Rufous hummingbird
- Golden-winged warbler
- Cerulean warbler
- Bay-breasted warbler
- Connecticut warbler
- Olive-sided flycatcher
- Rusty blackbird
- Western meadowlark
- Grasshopper sparrow
- Eastern whip-poor-will
This is alarming and should motivate everyone to act before it's too late.
Why Are Hummingbirds at Risk?
The reasons for the declining populations of these birds are many, including glass collisions, invasive species (domestic cats), and pesticides. Climate change is another significant factor contributing to their decline3. Hummingbirds are highly dependent on the timing of nectar blooms, and climate change is altering the timing and availability of nectar-producing flowers. The changing temperatures also affect the migration patterns of these birds.
Another major threat to hummingbirds is the loss of suitable habitats4. Human development and deforestation are causing significant habitat loss, leaving hummingbirds with nowhere to go. Additionally, the clearing of natural habitats to make way for agriculture and urbanization can lead to habitat fragmentation. This fragmentation makes it challenging for hummingbirds to find enough food or suitable nesting sites, leading to further declines in their populations.
The loss of these birds would be a significant loss to our ecosystem. Hummingbirds are not just beautiful creatures, but they also play a vital role in the ecosystem. They are important pollinators and contribute significantly to plant reproduction5. These tiny birds are attracted to brightly colored, nectar-producing flowers, and as they feed, they transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing them in the process. Hummingbirds are particularly important in North America, where they play a crucial role in the reproduction of many native plant species.
In addition to their role as pollinators, hummingbirds also play an essential role in controlling insect populations6. Hummingbirds feed on insects such as aphids, mosquitoes, and gnats, which can cause significant damage to crops and gardens. By consuming these insects, hummingbirds help to keep their populations in check, reducing the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides.
Take Action to Protect Hummingbirds
You might be feeling powerless in the face of this crisis, but there are things you can do in your own backyard to help save hummingbirds from the threats it faces. We must act quickly to save the hummingbirds and other endangered bird species from extinction.
Take the pledge to help protect hummingbirds from extinction. Together, we can make a difference and save these birds from disappearing forever.
- The U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), Cornell University (2023), "State of the Birds 2022."
- The U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), Cornell University (2023), "Bird Declines Are Reaching a Tipping Point."
- National Audubon Society, Audubon (7 April 2015), "How Climate Change Threatens Hummingbirds."
- Bond with your Bird (2021), "Are Hummingbird Populations Declining? What the Data Says."
- Stewart Patrick, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (28 November 2022), "To Prevent the Collapse of Biodiversity, the World Needs a New Planetary Politics."
- PennState Extension, College of Agricultural Sciences. The Pennsylvania State University (24 June 2021), "Hummingbirds and Fruit Flies."
As someone who loves and appreciates the beauty of hummingbirds, I am deeply concerned about the threats they face.
The Rufous hummingbird, one of the smallest and feistiest species, has lost two-thirds of its population since 1970, and it is just one of 70 bird species on the "Tipping Point" list that could lose another 50% of their populations if we don't act now.
As pollinators, hummingbirds play a vital role in plant reproduction, and they help to control insect populations, making them essential to the ecosystem. However, habitat loss from climate change and human development, glass collisions, invasive species like outdoor cats, and pesticides are putting their populations at risk.
To do my part in protecting hummingbirds from extinction, I pledge to take the following actions:
- Reduce glass collisions: I will add see-through decals to my windows or install bird-safe glass.
- Avoid using pesticides and herbicides: Instead, I will let birds eat insects and grass seed in my garden.
- Plant native vegetation: By providing a habitat that hummingbirds and other birds need, I will help ensure their survival.
- Keep outdoor cats indoors: I will keep my cat indoors, or try special fencing to prevent them from straying too far.
- Use products to deter cats: I will use products that make it much harder for cats to chase prey.
- Monitor bird feeders: I will keep bird feeders clean and free of mold and bacteria that can be harmful to hummingbirds.
- Reduce carbon footprint: I will take steps to reduce my carbon footprint, such as using public transportation or driving a fuel-efficient car.
- Promote responsible tourism: I will support ecotourism companies that prioritize conservation efforts and minimize their impact on the environment.
- Support conservation organizations: I will donate to organizations like GreaterGood.
- Spread awareness: I will educate my friends, family, and community about the threats facing hummingbirds and what they can do to help.
By taking these actions, I am committing to doing my part to protect hummingbirds and other bird species from extinction. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that these beautiful creatures continue to thrive for generations to come.