found that the IUCN
[International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources] Redlist was being used as a tool to figure out a
bird’s status around the world. We contacted Dr. John Sauer, a
Research Wildlife Biologist for the USGS Patuxent Wildlife
Research Center, to find out how reliable the IUCN Redlist
really is. He said there are lots of different endangered
species lists. “Some of these,” he told us, “[such as the IUCN
Redlist and Audubon Watchlist] are developed by conservation
organizations to alert governments and the public to possible
threats.” [Sauer] These lists are used to tell people what
birds are decreasing in numbers so that conservation programs
can be started. They are used as information and people do not
have to do anything about the problems. On the other hand,
lists like the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Threatened and Endangered Species list
and state lists are created by the government. Since these
lists are government lists, they are usually tied to laws and
legislation that protect the endangered species on them.
A true picture would take information from endangered species
lists from every country in the world and every state in the
United States. This would take a lot of time and some areas
would not have lists. We decided that a combination of lists
would be a good idea. This site uses information from the
Our goal is to present the most accurate, worldwide information.
We have explained the categories of each list below:
EX means that the bird
is gone from the earth. All of them have died.
EW means that there
might be some alive in zoos, or in captive breeding
areas, for example, but there are none left roaming free
in the world.
EN, VU: The categories that birds of prey
typically fall under are in red, blue and green on this
chart. We separated the chart by color so that it would
be easier to understand. Birds are threatened if they
are in one of the red categories.
The blue ‘Near threatened’ category is like a weather
“watch” where the weatherman sees different things that
usually mean that the storm will happen. It is
expected to happen based on these things. In the
case of ‘Near threatened’, the birds are studied and
based on what is found, they may become endangered in
the future. These things might be decreasing numbers,
the use of DDT in an area, birds laying thin-shelled
eggs, or lots of other things that could threaten them.
Least concern is the best category because it means that
there are no signs that these birds will become
Audubon Watchlist is divided into two categories: red and
yellow. The red one is used for birds that are decreasing in
numbers or have problems that need conservation programs to
fix. Most of the birds in this category are endangered on a
category is for birds whose numbers are going down but not as
much or as quickly as the ones in the red list. Most of the
birds in this category are endangered countrywide.
Each bird status list that we used
depends on information from bird watchers. On our trip to Hawk
Mountain, we saw whiteboard charts on which bird spotters put
the names and numbers of birds that were seen that day. We
wondered how spotters accurately count since birds can be a long
way away and flying all over the place. Dr. John Sauer, in an
email interview, said that bird counters follow rules that
include things like only counting birds that are migrating. To
get a real count, sometimes birds are counted when they are in
their usual nesting places and not migrating.
interesting thing about counting birds is that Dr. Sauer said
bird spotters recognize major bird population problems before
anyone else. He said:
in the DDT years, people started to notice that the numbers of
young bald eagles declined dramatically, but there were still
adults passing the migration counting stations.”[Sauer email]
It was found that “pesticides were interfering with egg laying
(the eggshells were too thin), so the eagles were not producing
young. The migration data was the warning sign that something
was very wrong.” [Sauer email]
Lots of people spend lots of time counting birds. We have
visited a couple of places where we have seen them doing this.
It takes a lot of dedication to go up each day and wait for
birds to fly by. We spent about 20 minutes on the mountain with
binoculars and didn’t see one bird. You have to be up there
when the temperatures and time are just right because birds of
thermals after the day gets warmer.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists all
nationally endangered birds. Laws are made to protect
birds of prey. If the birds are on this list, they get
protected. Sometimes people argue over whether a bird
should or should not be taken off the list. If the bird is
taken off of the list too soon, they stand the chance of
becoming endangered again because they aren't being protected
"Re: bird questions." Email to Club Web 21 Feb.
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