cornell lab of ornithology news & notes



Canada, Mexico, and the United States share 882 native landbird species, almost one-third of which depend substantially for their survival on at least two of the countries each year, according to a new assessment by a collaboration of conservation scientists in all three countries. The assessment also identified 148 bird species in need of immediate conservation attention because of their highly threatened and declining populations.

Saving Our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation is the first comprehensive conservation assessment of birds at the tri-nationa] level. Partners in Flight is a cooperative effort involving government agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, academic institutions, professional associations, industry, and private individuals.

Key findings of the report include:

• The most imperiled birds include 44 species with very limited distributions, mostly in Mexico, including the Thick-billed Parrot and Horned Guan.

• Also of high tri-national concern are 80 tropical residents with ranges in Mexico, such as the Red-breasted Chat and Resplendent Quetzal,

• Additionally, 24 species that breed in the United States and Canada continue to warrant immediate action to prevent further declines, including Cerulean Warbler, Black Swift, and Canada Warbler.

• Forty-two common bird species have steeply declined by 50 percent or more in the past 40 years, including Common Nighthawk, Eastern Meadowlark and Loggerhead Shrike. Government officials, on behalf of international bird con-

servation leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, released the report on May 11, at the XV Annual Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The release of the report also brought attention to International Migratory Bird Day 2010.

Virginia Poter, Canadian Wildlife Services' director general at Environment Canada, said in a news release, "The release of this report illustrates our three countries' commitment to the long-term conservation of biological biodiversity and to working with each other to protect our natural heritage through forums like the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, and the International Year of Biodiversity. "

"The winter ranges of shared migrants show a striking geographic overlap with the ranges of species at greatest risk of extinction," said Dr. Jose Sarukhin Kermez, national coordinator of Mexico's National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity.

"More than 100 of the migrants shared substantially among our three countries depend on the same tropical and pine-oak forests in Mexico that support highly threatened tropical residents," he said in the news release.

This report is the latest effort by Partners in Flight to help species at risk and keep common birds common-its mission since 1990. Partners in Flight achieves success in conserving bird populations in the Western Hemisphere through combining resources of public and private organizations in North and South America.

To view Saving Our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight TriNational Vision for Landbird Conservation and see a complete list of contributors to the report, visit

To learn more about Partners in Flight, visit


A simple lifestyle choice can have a positive impact on bird conservation around the world. Scientists have established that the traditional method of growing coffee-beneath the canopy of a forest, rather than chopping down the trees for sun-grown coffees-provides vital habitat for birds.

"It's a simple formula: keep the trees, keep the birds," said Dr.

Kenneth Rosenberg, director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in a news release. "When trees are retained, this has tremendous value to birds, especially migratory birds that winter in Central and South America and breed in North America during the summer."

Research has shown that traditional shade-grown coffee plantations in Mexico can support more than 100 bird species, compared with six to 12 species in sun-grown monocultures.

Support of the shade-grown coffee movement has led to a new partnership between the Cornell Lab and Birds & Beans, a Massachusetts-based retailer that specializes in shade-grown coffee products certified "bird friendly®" by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification means that Birds & Beans coffee is 100 percent organic and shade-grown.

"We started this project to make it easier for bird and nature lovers to do the right thing and enjoy great-tasting coffee at the same time," said Bill Wilson, co-founder of Birds & Beans, in the release. "By partnering with the Cornell Lab, we're sure we can all make a big difference for tanagers, thrushes, orioles, warblers, and other beautiful songbirds."