From the flightless dodo in Mauritius to the passenger pigeon in North America, 279 bird species and subspecies have vanished in the last 500 years, researchers estimate. The rate of extinctions worldwide peaked in the early 1900s and then started to decline, but a new study found that bird die-outs have been on the rise since the middle of the 20th century.
"Until this study it had been hoped the rate of extinction was slowing," researcher Judit Szabo, of Charles Darwin University in Australia, said in a statement. "Historically most extinctions have occurred on islands, particularly those in the Pacific, but most of the really susceptible species are long gone."
Bird extinctions mainly occurred on islands in previous centuries as humans expanded in the Pacific and colonized the Americas, disrupting fragile ecosystems. But as island extinction rates have been declining over the past century, more and more species have disappeared on the continents, Szabo and her team said.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.