Birds are in pretty dire straits, according BirdLife International’s new State of the World’s Birds report. Thirteen percent of birds – or more than 1,000 species – are currently listed as threatened species, and another 9 percent are near threatened. Just under 200 species are critically endangered, meaning they’re at an extremely high risk of soon going extinct.
And it isn’t just rare birds that are declining. Familiar species such as the barn swallow and purple martin are disappearing at an astonishing rate. In the case of those two birds, 80 to 90 per cent of the population was wiped out in the last 20 years.
As development intensifies worldwide and climate change continues to tamper with birds’ habitats and sources of food, the report predicts, those threatened species numbers are likely to increase.
The good news is that saving the birds – and other wildlife, for that matter – is within our reach, if we only chose to do so. As The Conversation points out:
Most striking is the cost of conserving the world’s important biodiversity – estimated at US$80 billion, that is one twentieth of global military spending, around 0.1% of the total global economy and, most remarkable of all, one fifth of what we spend on soft drinks every year.
More from Smithsonian.com: