Please see press release and Vermont specific WatchList below. Please contact Jim Shallow, Audubon Vermont Conservation & Policy Director for more information. [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Conservation Education Coordinator
255 Sherman Hollow Road
Huntington, VT 05462
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Some of the U.S.'s Most Imperiled Birds Make their Home in Vermont
New Report Identifies Species at Greatest Risk
Huntington, Vermont, November 29, 2007 - 21 of the birds that Audubon and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) have identified as in need of top-priority conservation attention to ensure their continued survival spend at least part of their year in Vermont. They have the dubious distinction of being included on WatchList 2007, the newest and most scientifically sound list of America's birds at greatest risk. Unlike those on Audubon's recent survey of Common Birds in Decline, these species are often rare and limited in range; consequently, they face a more imminent threat of extinction. For many of them, conservation efforts in Vermont as well as nationally will play a critical role in determining their future health and survival.
The continental WatchList is based on a comprehensive analysis of population size and trends, distribution, and environmental threats, informed and improved by extensive scientific review. The 59 species on its "red list" are those of greatest concern, while the additional 119 merit their spots on the "yellow list" due to a combination of rarity seriously declining numbers. Species found on either part of the WatchList demand immediate help while there is still time to save them.
"All of us in Vermont have an opportunity and a responsibility to help protect our birds at greatest risk - including Bicknell's Thrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Short-eared Owl, Canada Warbler and the Wood Thrush," said Jim Shallow, Audubon Vermont Conservation and Policy Director. "We need conservation action now, while there is still time - and the WatchList helps focus that action where we need it most.
Priority WatchList species found in Vermont are:
This species is restricted to Vermont's high elevation spruce-fir forests. Acid rain and mercury deposition threaten this iconic Vermont bird. Global warming has the potential to eliminate the preferred habitat of the Bicknell's Thrush. In addition, deforestation on this bird's Caribbean wintering grounds further endangers the existence of this bird. Reducing emissions from Mid-western coal-fired power plants will help reverse the forest damage caused by acid rain and reduce mercury contamination.
Primarily found in Vermont's Champlain Valley, this species prefers shrubby habitats found on old farm fields. Suburban sprawl contributes to the loss of this species habitat. Audubon Vermont is working with landowners to identify and maintain shrubland habitat. The Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) can provide landowners financial assistance to maintain the Golden-winged Warbler's breeding habitat.
The new Audubon/ABC WatchList is based on the latest available data from the Christmas Bird Count and the annual Breeding Bird Survey along with other research and assessment from the bird conservation community. The data were analyzed and weighted according to methods developed through extensive peer review and revision, yielding an improved assessment of actual peril that can be used to determine bird conservation priorities and funding. Listed species may seem unfamiliar to many Americans. Unlike those on Audubon's recent survey of Common Birds in Decline, these species are often rare and limited in range.
For the complete WatchList, and information on how to help, visit www.audubon.org<http://www.audubon.org>. To learn more about Audubon Vermont's work protecting these and other species, visit www.vt.audubon.org<http://www.vt.audubon.org/>. For high resolution photos of priority WatchList species, B-roll and other press resources, visit www.audubon.org/news/pressroom/WatchList2007/<http://www.audubon.org/news/pressroom/WatchList2007/>.
Vermont Watchlist 2007
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow