You may know that more than 300 species
of birds nest in the forests of North
America, but did you know that…
More than 85 percent of forest habitats
have been permanently destroyed or
logged in the United States?
Two out of every three woodland
species in the central United States
have declined in abundance during the
past 30 years?
Ninety-nine percent of the original
forests in the eastern United States have
been cut, and the forests that regenerate
or are replanted are often of lower
quality for Neotropical migratory birds?
More than 75 percent of riparian
woodlands in the West have been
destroyed, and that this loss has caused
several bird species to be placed on the
federal Endangered Species List?
Most forests in the midwestern United
States have been lost—for example,
99 percent of mature oak forest and
beech-maple forest in Michigan,
96 percent of bottomland forests in
Missouri, and 72 percent of northern
hardwoods in Minnesota?
In eastern Montana, about 90 percent
of the trees in wooded draws have been
Most woodlands in eastern United
States are less than 100 acres in size,
and this allows parasitic brown-headed
cowbirds and predators easy access to
the nests of Neotropical migratory birds
Ninety-eight percent of the longleaf
pine forests along the southeastern
coastal plain have been replaced?
Only 5 percent of the original old-growth
forests of the Cumberland
Plateau in Tennessee remain today?
Nearly all of the temperate rainforests
of Oregon have been logged?
You may know that the grasslands of
North America harbor dozens of unique
species of birds found no place else in the
world, but did you know that…
Although more than 400,000 square
miles of tallgrass prairie once covered
the United States (15 percent of the
lower 48 states), 95 percent of those
grasslands have been permanently
destroyed or converted to agriculture?
Three out of every four grassland
bird species in North America have
declined in abundance during the past
Ninety-nine percent of the Palouse
Prairie in the Pacific Northwest has
been lost to agriculture?
More than 90 percent of sagebrush
habitats in the Southwest and
Intermountain West have been
overgrazed, and that cattle grazing
usually results in significant degradation
of nesting habitats for birds?
Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana
have lost more than 99 percent of their
prairies during the past 150 years, and
with those prairies went upland
sandpipers, dickcissels, and bobolinks?
In Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana and Texas, only 5 percent of
the once widespread coastal prairie
Most remaining grasslands in the
East and Midwest are fragments so
small that brown-headed cowbirds and
predators can readily parasitize or
destroy nests of birds nesting there?
Ninety-four percent of native
grasslands in San Diego County,
California have been developed?
Important Facts about
Habitat Loss and Birds
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Day is May 8th
Properly reclaimed strip mines can
provide excellent habitat for many
Land management practices such as
fire suppression, grazing, and water
regulation have created a massive
invasion of exotic grasses and shrubs on
millions of acres of native grasslands and
steppe in western North America?
You may know that healthy wetlands
provide clean drinking water for cities
and towns everywhere, but did you
More than 50 percent of all wetlands in
the contiguous United States have been
drained or filled since the time of
The bottomland hardwood forests of
the South have declined by more than
Scientists know relatively little
about the breeding ecology of many
species of wetland birds, such as rails
More than half of all original barrier
island vegetation and coastal wetlands
in the United States have been
destroyed or altered, thereby depriving
birds important resting and feeding
sites during migration?
The midwestern states have been
particularly hard on their marshes and
swamps—Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa
and Missouri have drained more than
90 percent of their original wetlands?
Ninety-four percent of inland wetlands
have been drained in California, but
Alaska has retained more than 90
percent of its original wetlands?
Most western states have destroyed
one-third to one-half of their wetlands
during the past 100 years?
There are 30 to 70 percent fewer king
rails, Virginia rails, soras, lesser
yellowlegs, and black terns today than
there were only 30 years ago?
More than half of all the areas
identified as critical for endangered
species are contained in wetlands?
The North American Waterfowl
Management Plan has protected,
restored, or enhanced more than15 million
acres of marshes, potholes, and forested
wetlands in Canada, the United States,
and Mexico between 1986 and 1996?
Finally, you know that birds are fun to
watch, but did you know that…
Spruce budworms cause millions of
dollars in damage each year in northern
and western forests, but that five out of
every six budworms are eaten by
Birds are good indicators of the health
of the environment, and that population
declines of peregrine falcons and
ospreys in the 1960s alerted us that the
pesticide DDT was harmful to all
animals, including humans?
In 1921, biologists estimated that,
through insect control, birds saved
farmers and timber owners $44 million
Homes in neighborhoods with large
trees for birds cost less to cool and heat,
and are worth more than similar homes
in neighborhoods without trees?
Agricultural areas, such as orchards,
with woodlots nearby usually have more
birds than areas without woodlots, and
that birds have been shown to consume
95 percent of the tree-damaging codling
moths in those orchards?
Many tropical birds, and birds that
migrate to the tropics during the winter,
are important for the pollination of many
valuable species of flowers and trees?
By eating thousands of leaf-damaging
insects each day, birds in the Ozarks
allow commercially valuable white oak
trees to grow faster than they would if
birds weren’t in those forests?
Birds save the timber industry tens of
millions of dollars in timber damage each
year by consuming wood boring insects?
The blue jay is one of the “Johnny
Appleseeds” of the bird world, playing
an important role in dispersal of acorns,
and hence oak trees, in the Midwest?
Raptors, such as Swainson’s hawk,
red-tailed hawk, and great-horned owl,
provide a natural control for rodents
that destroy crops and infest grain
For more information, contact:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Migratory Bird Management
4401 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.