To assess the Rustic Bunting’s global conservation status we compiled, for the first time, population data across its breeding and wintering ranges. The analysis reveals a 75–87% decline in overall population size over the last 30 years and a 32–91% decline over the last 10 years. The trend estimates indicate that the long-term (30-year) range-wide population decline in the Rustic Bunting is of similar magnitude to two well-known examples of declining species within the same genus, the Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola and the Ortolan Bunting E. hortulana.
The variety of animals and plants has fallen to dangerous levels across more than half of the world’s landmass, scientists have estimated. The unchecked loss of biodiversity is akin to playing ecological roulette and will set back efforts to bring people out of poverty in the long term, they warned. Analysing 1.8m records from 39,123 sites across Earth, the international study found that a measure of the intactness of biodiversity at sites has fallen below a safety limit across 58.1% of the world’s land.
Ecuador is the third largest producer of cut flowers in the world, primarily roses, many of which are destined to be sold for Mother’s Day. The industry employs more than 103,000 people, and relies heavily on agricultural pesticides. In a paper published in the May 2017 issue of the journal NeuroToxicology, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Ecuador and Minnesota, have found altered short-term neurological behaviors in children associated with a peak pesticide spraying season linked to the Mother’s Day flower harvest.
Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. "If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen," says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. "I'm a very data-driven person," says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. "But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don't see that mess anymore."
The number of birds in Germany and Europe has dropped significantly over the past 30 years, according to the German government. In Germany, one-third of all bird species have seen "significant population declines" since the end of the 1990s, said the government in response to a question about the plight of birds across Europe put forward by the Greens. "The situation of birds is dramatic," said Steffi Lemke, a German Green Party lawmaker.
Aerially-foraging insectivorous bird populations have been declining for several decades in North America and habitat loss is hypothesized as a leading cause for the declines. Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are a model species to test this hypothesis because nest site use and availability is easily assessed. To determine if nest site availability is a limiting factor for Chimney Swifts, we established a volunteer-based survey to inventory and describe chimneys (n = 928) that were used or unused by swifts.
The influence of crop type (pasture, silage and cereal) on the abundance of aerial invertebrates and the density of foraging barn swallows Hirundo rustica was investigated in lowland mixed farmland in southern Britain. After taking weather and other confounding factors into account aerial invertebrate abundance over pasture fields was more than double that over silage, and more than three and a half times greater than that over cereal fields. Pasture fields also hosted approximately twice as many foraging barn swallows as both silage and cereal fields.
Once abundant throughout the Eastern United States, as well as much of the Midwest, the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is now considered extinct in Maine and Rhode Island, and endangered in the remaining New England states, as well as New York, New Jersey and Maryland. In West Virginia, where the reptile’s conservation status is considered vulnerable, the timber rattler can be found in about half of the state’s counties, mostly those in the south, east and northeast.
For generations of Missouri farmers, an enjoyable sign that spring was transitioning into summer was the crisp, clear call of a meadowlark perched on a nearby fencepost. However, that call is becoming alarmingly less common throughout the region. Many people are familiar with the decrease of the greater prairie-chicken throughout much of the central U.S. and most have also heard about the steadily worsening quail situation for the same area. However, unless you’re a birding enthusiast, you’re likely unaware of the downward spiral of eastern meadowlark numbers.