This report provides the nation's first assessment of the distribution of birds on public lands and the opportunities for public agencies in each habitat. Nearly 850 million acres of land and 3.5 million square miles of ocean in the U.S. are owned by the American people. These habitats are vital to more than 1,000 bird species in the U.S., 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered, or of conservation concern. More than 300 bird species have 50% or more of their U.S. distribution on public lands and waters. Public agencies therefore have a major influence on the success of conservation efforts to restore declining species and keep common birds common.
Released by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in Washington, D.C., on May 3rd, The State of the Birds 2011 Report presents the following key findings:
• The Gold Standard: Wetlands Protection and Management. Our nation’s acquisition and management of wetlands have contributed to a notable increase in wetland bird populations in the past 40 years.
• Oceans and Coasts: Vital Habitats for Birds. All U.S. marine waters are publicly owned and are home to 86 ocean bird species and 173 coastal species.
• Islands Essential for Nation's Most Endangered Birds. One-third of all birds listed under the Endangered Species Act occur in Hawai‘i. Public lands are essential to save species that are in danger of extinction in Hawai‘i, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. islands.
• Public Lands Protect Vast Arctic Tundra and Boreal Forests. Arctic, alpine, and boreal forest-breeding birds in Alaska have more than 90% of their U.S. distribution on public lands, including 12 shorebird species.
• Stewardship Opportunities in Aridlands and Forests. Public lands support more than half of the U.S. distribution of aridland and western forest bird species during the breeding season.
• Grasslands Underrepresented on Public Lands. The percentage distribution of grassland birds on public lands is low because such a small amount of U.S. grassland (less than 2%) is both publicly owned and managed primarily for conservation.
• Eastern Forests Need Greater Protections from Development. Public lands in the East are often the largest blocks of remaining forest in rapidly developing urban landscapes.
Mike Kreger, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Robert Blohm, USFWS
Brad Andres, USFWS
Jennifer Wheeler, USFWS
Jorge Coppen, USFWS
John Sauer, U.S. Geological Survey
Greg Butcher, National Audubon Society
Laurel Barnhill, South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources
Deb Hahn, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
David Pashley, American Bird Conservancy
Ken Rosenberg, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Dave Mehlman, The Nature Conservancy
Chris Eberly, DoD Partners in Flight
Charles Francis, Canadian Wildlife Service
Dan Petit, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Frank Thompson, U.S. Forest Service
Paul Schmidt, USFWS
Sandra Brewer, Bureau of Land Management
Brent Steury, National Park Service
Alicia King, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Nancy Severance, National Audubon Society
Ashley Dayer, Cornell University
Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Blythe Thomas, The Nature Conservancy
Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy