Calling all birders

  Ever wonder how your feathered friends are faring in the face of deforestation, farming and other formidable foes? You can find out in the National Audubon Society’s State of the Birds 2004 report.

Using 40 years of data collected from the U.S. Geological Survey’s national Breeding Bird Survey, the National Audubon Society assessed population changes for 450 imperiled non-game species in five habitats across the nation. Birds include species like the bobolink, whose numbers have decreased by half although it still has a widespread range, and the mountain plover, whose small populations are confined to increasingly restricted ranges.

"The fact is, grassland and shrubland species, which are predominantly Western birds, are getting nailed by habitat loss or misuse," says John Bianchi, a spokesman for Audubon. Woodland birds fare worst in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, while wetland bird populations are suffering the most dramatic declines around Arizona and New Mexico.

Readers might not find their favorite Aves listed in the report, which is a good thing: Only those species whose survival is threatened are analyzed. Check out www.audubon.org/bird/stateofthebirds.