Half of all birds at risk from climate change

Are birds like humans? Scientists have spent decades discovering unlikely links between people and birds. Now, we need to save them from extinction.

A parrot chats back to its owner. A pigeon strolls around London. A seagull steals a child’s chips. Everyone agrees: birds and humans look very different. But our behaviour can be surprisingly similar.

There are around 11,000 different species of bird living across the world. But today, nearly half of the planet’s bird species are in decline — from larks in Ethiopia to eagles throughout South America. In the UK, sightings of blue tits have fallen by 83% in the last 40 years.

The State of the World’s Birds report shows that the growth of agriculture is putting pressure on most species. Climate change and the rise of forest fires are other key factors.

“We have to stop these declines and start getting on track for recovery,” says Dr Stuart Butchart, lead scientist at BirdLife International. “Our future, as well as the world’s birds, depends on it.”

Humans need birds. They eat pests, spread seeds and pollinate plants. Now, it is up to people to save them. Many believe we must act now before it is too late.