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State of the Birds Report

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Subtropical Forest

A forest of live oaks in Tree Tops Park, Florida. Subtropical forests occur in the United States only in south Texas (Tamaulipan thorn forest) and in peninsular Florida (bald cypress and hardwood hammocks). Photo by Kenneth V. Rosenberg


Birds in Trouble

Altamira Oriole by
Mark Keithly

Federally listed as endangered: Wood Stork. Threatened: (Audubon’s) Crested Caracara.

  • Smooth-billed Anis in Florida and Groove-billed Anis in Texas have declined dramatically for unknown reasons.

  • Other less-common species of the Rio Grande Valley, such as Altamira and Audubon’s orioles, also are thought to have declined, possibly due to Bronzed and Brown-headed cowbirds that lay their own eggs in the orioles’ nests.


Green Jay by Sam Crowe

Reasons for Hope

Couch’s Kingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, and Olive Sparrow are among many species that are moving northward in Texas, perhaps in response to warming temperatures.

Acquisition and restoration efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Texas, The Nature Conservancy, and National Audubon Society have created a string of protected areas along the Lower Rio Grande that are vital to many subtropical forest specialists. The newly formed Rio Grande Joint Venture is a public-private partnership striving to protect and restore additional remnant forests in south Texas and northeastern Mexico.

Nearly all of south Florida’s remaining subtropical forests are protected within Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Reserve.


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