New assessment covers all US species and subspecies - Hawai'i of particular concern
October 2012. A new study on the conservation status of American birds completed by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the first ever published to include the full range of bird diversity in all 50 U.S. states and dependent territories. The study finds that more than one third of these birds are in need of conservation attention. More details, including a complete bird list with conservation rankings, can be found at abcbirds.org/checklist.
While the conservation status of bird species has been widely researched in the past, the new study is the first national assessment to also rank the status of subspecies: regional forms of species that differ in appearance, and sometimes in habitat choice and migration patterns.
"By looking beyond the species we can better gauge the conservation status of the total diversity of birds in the United States," said the study's principal author and American Bird Conservancy Vice President, Mike Parr. "There are more than twice as many subspecies recognized as there are full species, so these data provide a more complete picture than we have ever had previously. In addition, birds that are today classed as subspecies may tomorrow be re-classified as full species when more information comes to light.
This study will help make sure we don't miss these birds as we move forward with conservation programs. While the good news is that most of the highest scoring (most "At-Risk") birds are already protected by the Endangered Species Act, there are definitely some surprises in here too," Parr said.
"ABC's Conservation Ranking of bird subspecies is a major contribution to our understanding of bird conservation priorities. This assessment elevates these taxa to genuine elements of biodiversity that deserve more attention, and reinforces the fact that we have bird conservation work to do essentially anywhere you look in the United States" said Terry Rich, National Coordinator for Partners in Flight (PIF), a cooperative effort concerned with conserving bird populations in the Western Hemisphere.