21% of Europe's Bird Population Has Completely Disappeared Since 1980

According to a new study published in the journal Ecology Letters, Europe's bird population is under siege — and it's all our fault. Researchers found that the continent now has 421 million fewer birds than it did in the beginning of the 1980s. After studying 144 species, they concluded that the number dropped from a little over 2 billion birds in 1980 to just 1.64 billion in 2009. The main culprits, perhaps unsurprisingly, are humans — specifically, modern agriculture methods, reports the Agence France Presse. Nice going, everyone. The species hit hardest by the decline may surprise you, however. Rare and endangered birds were largely left untouched; many actually increased in number. The species that suffered the most were actually the ones we see everyday — the house sparrow, the common starling, the Eurasian skylark, the willow warbler and the Eurasian tree sparrow are all in serious danger, Richard Inger, the study's lead author, told the Washington Post. The decline among more common species is actually a good indicator of overall environmental damage. "Common species are widespread and their numbers are linked to the deterioration of the quality of the environment on a landscape scale," the paper's authors wrote.
Source: Sophie Kleeman in MIC, November 03, 2014