The Bad News Birds

More than one-quarter of america's bird species are in decline, according to a report this week from the National Audubon Society. Issuing its first WatchList since 1997, the Audubon names birds that are imperiled but have not yet been doomed to extinction. The list of 201 species includes the cerulean warbler, which has an Appalachian habitat threatened by mining, and the painted bunting, whose brushland habitat has been gobbled up by sprawl and farming. The decrease in birds isn't good news for humankind, says the Audubon's chief ornithologist, Frank Gill, since birds are indeed the canaries in the global coal mine....

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