HELENA — Three billion. That’s how many birds no longer fly in the skies of North America according to Science Journal. That’s 29% less birds since 1970.
Larry Berrin, the Executive Director of Montana Audubon wasn’t initially aware of the bird loss study, but from his time as an avid birdwatcher, the research confirms his long-time hunch.
“It's not an overstatement to say, what affects birds will eventually affect us all,” Berrin said.
In grassland areas such as in Eastern Montana, scientists have charted the greatest loss: more than 700 million birds.
According to conservationist, part of the blame for the loss of birds comes from habitat loss and pesticide.
“Of course, that western meadowlark fits in that greater category of grassland birds,” Amy Seaman, the director of Policy and Science at Montana Audubon said. “Those birds are heavily affected, same with the swallows and the sparrows.”
Western forests also saw a decline in bird populations.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” Seaman said, “But I think it can also help us focus on where we need to go next.”
“When we focus on those species in decline, we really help recover them,” Seaman said. “We really can help recover them.”