The State of the Birds

a flock of shorebirds flies through an overcast sky with blurred grasses in the background
Whimbrels by Andy Johnson.

The 2022 State of the Birds report presents data on changes in bird populations across habitats of the United States in the past five decades. These changes are shown for the groups of breeding species that are most dependent on each habitat and for which long-term monitoring data are available (see Methods for details).

Population rebounds of waterfowl show that when investments in habitat conservation are made, we can bring birds back. At the same time, continuing declines in other habitats show the critical need to restore ecosystems under stress.

graph displaying jagged lines representing population increases and decreases of 10 groups of birds since 1970
Trends for breeding bird species by group or by habitat during 1970–2019, except for the shorebirds trend, which begins in 1980.

The Birds of Conservation Concern (BCC) list, mandated by law and updated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, identifies 269 migratory nongame bird species that, without additional conservation actions, are likely to become candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

In this report, scientists with the Road to Recovery initiative have identified 70 Tipping Point species from the BCC and/or state lists of Species of Greatest Conservation Need. These birds have lost half or more of their populations in 50 years and are on a trajectory to lose another half in the next 50 years—or they already have small remaining populations and face high threats, but lack sufficient monitoring data.

Status of Birds by Habitat

The following pages highlight the plight of birds in each habitat, with the pronounced declines of Tipping Point species shown in bold, for species with sufficient data.

In addition to summaries of trends, this report also highlights conservation opportunities and successes in each biome, as examples of how actions that benefit birds create healthier environments for people and all life that depends on these shared habitats.