Birder's Conservation Handbook

Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk

JEFFREY V. WELLS
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 464
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7s12c
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  • Book Info
    Birder's Conservation Handbook
    Book Description:

    Until now there has been no single, comprehensive resource on the status of North America's most threatened birds and what people can do to help protect them.Birder's Conservation Handbookis the only book of its kind, written specifically to help birders and researchers understand the threats while providing actions to protect birds and their habitats. Jeffrey Wells has distilled vast amounts of essential information into a single easy-to-use volume-required reading for anyone who loves birds and wants to ensure they are protected. At-a-glance species accounts cover in detail North America's one hundred most at-risk birds; each account is beautifully illustrated by today's top bird artists. The text includes status, distribution, ecology, threats, conservation actions and needs, and references. A distribution map accompanies each entry. Chapters discuss birds as indicators of environmental health, the state of North American bird populations, major conservation issues, and initiatives now underway to improve the health of North America's birds.

    Birder's Conservation Handbookis an indispensable resource for birdwatchers, researchers, naturalists, and conservationists. Reading it will inspire you to become an active steward of our birds and the habitats we share.

    A comprehensive guide to North America's one hundred most at-risk birds and how to protect themCompact and easy to use, with beautiful illustrations and data organized for convenient, at-a-glance referenceDetailed species accounts, including distribution mapsPractical advice on conservationInformation on leading conservation agencies and resources

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3151-7
    Subjects: Zoology, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    John W. Fitzpatrick

    Consider the tools all of us have at our fingertips these days to help us become more knowledgeable birders. Thousands of books, audio guides from every corner of the planet, plus a burgeoning number of websites, listservs, and chatrooms. At any level of skill or experience, we can find answers to any question about bird identification, bird biology, bird sounds, and birding locations. But until now, a conspicuous gap has existed in these resources: what about bird conservation?

    North American birders have become increasingly concerned about the status of some of our most familiar species, and the time was ripe...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Scope and Purpose
    (pp. 1-4)

    In the fall of 2002, as National Bird Conservation Director for the National Audubon Society, I developed a website providing information about the 201 North American bird species of highest conservation concern that made up the Audubon WatchList. While gathering the data for that site, I found myself time and again wanting to reach to my bookshelf for the quick-and-easy book that pulled together the salient facts about a species’ status, distribution, and population changes. That book did not yet exist, I knew, from my years as a conservation professional. Creating the Audubon WatchList website highlighted to me the need...

  6. Birds as Indicators
    (pp. 5-8)

    Many people think of the concept of using birds as environmental indicators as a new idea. But the most ancient human cultures were the first to use birds and other wildlife to track changes in their world. Our ancestors had to be exceptionally observant of nature to survive. The signals that they read from birds gave them clues about changes in food availability and seasonality. A drop in numbers of grouse in one area might have indicated to them that hunting pressure had become too great or that the habitat had grown too thick. An intentionally set fire might be...

  7. The State of North American Bird Populations
    (pp. 9-17)

    A good friend who is not a biologist or birder once said to me upon hearing that there were debates about bird declines, “How can birds not have declined? So much of their habitat has been replaced with buildings, factories, and farmland?” I think his point is a good one to consider. The numbers of birds and other animals thriving in North America’s grasslands, forests, wetlands, and oceans before European arrival and expansion is beyond comprehension. Imagine 3 billion Passenger Pigeons, 100,000 Eskimo Curlews, 5 million Short-tailed Albatross, 65 million bison, and 33 million green sea turtles! For most species,...

  8. Major Conservation Issues Affecting North America’s Birds
    (pp. 18-32)

    At different times in my own personal growth as a conservationist, I, like most people who are aware of our connection to the natural world, have felt that so many bad things were happening to the environment that whatever I could do to make a difference was futile. But as I learned more about the major conservation issues impacting our lives, families, and economy, I became empowered by a new realization.

    What I hadn’t been able to see before was that the major conservation issues of our day are not separate, isolated problems, but are intimately related. These interconnections mean...

  9. The State of Bird Conservation in North America and Beyond
    (pp. 33-41)

    By the time this book has been released, the news of the apparent rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker will have long become public. The debate over the species’ continued existence may or may not be quelled, but the event will have sharpened the focus on preserving and restoring segments of the once-vast bottomland hardwood forests of the Mississippi Valley. As a participant in the first search teams to have descended on the cypress cathedrals of southeastern Arkansas where the initial sightings were reported in the spring of 2004, I thought a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of past bird...

  10. What You Can Do
    (pp. 42-44)

    From the global to the local scale, there are still opportunities to protect the remaining large, intact ecosystems, regions, or habitat patches. At the global scale, the largest remaining intact ecosystem in North America is the boreal forest that encompasses 1.5 billion acres stretching from Alaska across northern Canada to Newfoundland. Other large, mostly intact ecosystems in North America include portions of the Arctic, the Northern Pacific Coastal Forests of Alaska, and the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northwestern Mexico. While all of these regions are still relatively ecologically intact today, all are facing unprecedented threats. The fate of the...

  11. Species Accounts
    • EMPEROR GOOSE (Chen canagica)
      (pp. 47-48)

      One of the rarest geese in North America, the Emperor Goose is seldom found south of its primarily Alaskan breeding and wintering range where it has declined by at least 50% since 1964.

      Breeds in arctic and subarctic coastal salt marshes, primarily in western Alaska but with some in northeast Russia. Most of the population breeds in Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most important breeding areas for the species. Virtually the entire population winters in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, though small numbers and individuals occasionally make their way as far...

    • BRANT (Branta bernicla)
      (pp. 49-52)

      A small Arctic breeding goose that winters in temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia, the Brant is unusually reliant on a particular plant food and has suffered severe declines when this food source has been unavailable.

      Breeds across the world’s Arctic regions. In North America breeding populations occur from northwest Greenland to Alaska. Within this breeding range there are four populations, which each winter in different areas. Birds from northwest Greenland and the eastern high Arctic (light-bellied form) winter in Ireland. Birds breeding in the eastern Canadian low Arctic (light-bellied form) winter along the U.S. Atlantic coast. The...

    • TRUMPETER SWAN (Cygnus buccinator)
      (pp. 53-55)

      These large and beautiful birds were reduced to fewer than 100 individuals in the continental U.S. and several thousand in Canada and Alaska by the early 1900s. Protection and management efforts that started in the 1930s had increased the total population to over 34,000 by 2005.

      Once bred across large part of sub-Arctic Canada and U.S., though exact limits of historical range, especially eastern and southern limits, seem to be a matter of conjecture. By the early 1900s the species had been extirpated from all of its former breeding range in the contiguous U.S. except for a small area encompassing...

    • AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (Anas rubripes)
      (pp. 56-58)

      One of only two living waterfowl species limited to eastern North America, the American Black Duck occurs from the saltmarshes of the Atlantic coast to the freshwater ponds of Canada’s eastern boreal forest.

      Endemic to eastern North America, with a breeding range that extends from eastern Canada south into the northeastern U.S. High breeding densities occur in southern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Maine. Important breeding areas for the species include Canada’s Northeast James Bay Important Bird Area (IBA), Maine’s Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Rachel Carson NWR, and New York’s Wertheim NWR. An estimated 52% of the total population...

    • MOTTLED DUCK (Anas fulvigula)
      (pp. 59-61)

      A characteristic dabbling duck of south-central Florida and the Gulf Coast, the Mottled Duck is threatened by major loss and degradation of its wetland habitat and by hybridization with introduced Mallards.

      Confined to the southeastern U.S. and adjacent northeastern Mexico. Naturally occurring population extends from south-central Florida west along the Gulf Coast to Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. A gap in the distribution extends across the panhandle of Florida to eastern coastal Mississippi. An introduced population now occurs in coastal South Carolina. The species is nonmigratory within this range though there are extralimital records from as far south...

    • STELLER’S EIDER (Polysticta stelleri)
      (pp. 62-64)

      Steller’s Eider is a small Arctic breeding eider whose U.S. population is now listed as Threatened because of declines in the Alaska portion of its breeding range.

      Breeds along the Arctic coast of Siberia with a small population in western Siberia disjunct from larger eastern Siberian population, which is thought to be the bulk of the species’ world population. In the U.S., it breeds along the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska with a concentration near Barrow. The species formerly bred in larger numbers in western Alaska at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta but now occurs in very small numbers. Most of the...

    • SPECTACLED EIDER (Somateria fischeri)
      (pp. 65-67)

      Males of this Arctic breeding eider are magnificently plumaged but to see a Spectacled Eider requires living in or visiting the remote Alaskan or Siberian breeding range. The location of the species’ wintering range was an unsolved ornithological mystery until satellite telemetry studies were initiated after the species was federally listed in the U.S. as Threatened in 1993.

      Breeds along the Arctic coasts of Siberia and Alaska. There are three known breeding concentration areas in Siberia. In Alaska, there are two spatially disjunct breeding populations: the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and the Arctic Coastal Plain from near Wainwright to Demarcation Point.

      The...

    • GREATER SAGE-GROUSE (Centrocercus urophasianus)
      (pp. 68-71)

      One of the most well-known and dramatic of the suite of bird species of the sagebrush habitat of western North America, the Greater Sage-Grouse has shown major declines in abundance and shrinking of its range.

      Range encompasses eleven states and two provinces from eastern California and Oregon, east to northcentral Colorado and north through eastern Montana to southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. Small isolated populations occur in central Washington and range barely extends into the northwestern corner of South Dakota and southwestern corner of North Dakota. Historically, this species occurred throughout most of eastern and central Washington to British Columbia...

    • GUNNISON SAGE-GROUSE (Centrocercus minimus)
      (pp. 72-74)

      Only recently recognized as a full species, the Gunnison Sage-Grouse has been the victim of major loss and alteration of its sagebrush habitat and the total population numbers in the low thousands.

      These birds once occurred from southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado south to northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico (possibly also Oklahoma) but are now restricted to an estimated 8.5% of the historic range within Colorado and adjacent Utah. The Gunnison Basin Important Bird Area (IBA) supports more than 60% of the world population (3,000 birds in 2004), much of which is on land owned by the Bureau of...

    • “BLUE” GROUSE including DUSKY GROUSE (Dendragapus obscurus) and SOOTY GROUSE (Dendragapus fuliginosus)
      (pp. 75-78)

      As this book was being finalized, the species formerly known as Blue Grouse was officially split into two species (Dusky Grouse and Sooty Grouse) based on agreement of new genetic evidence with recognized differences in voice, behavior, and plumage. This species account covers both of these new species.

      The Sooty Grouse range extends from coastal southeastern Alaska south through coastal British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon to southern California. The Dusky Grouse range extends from southern Yukon and extreme southwestern Northwest Territories south through interior British Columbia and western Alberta through mountains of western U.S. south to Nevada, Arizona, and New...

    • GREATER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN (Tympanuchus cupido)
      (pp. 79-82)

      A symbol of native grasslands of the U.S., the Greater Prairie-Chicken once occurred in at least 33 U.S. states and Canadian provinces but is now restricted to seven widely separated regions across 12 states.

      Birds once occurred from Alberta east to Ontario south through the midwest U.S. to Texas and Louisiana. A disjunct population described as a subspecies, the Heath Hen, occurred along the coastal plain from Massachusetts south to Virginia. The Heath Hen declined quickly following European settlement, with the last population remaining on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts until 1932 when it became extinct. Another distinct...

    • LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus)
      (pp. 83-85)

      Thought to have once numbered in the millions, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken population is now estimated at fewer than 25,000 individuals inhabiting pockets of shortgrass prairie and shrubland habitat in its limited southern Great Plains range.

      Birds are permanent residents within their very limited range extending from eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas north to southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas. An important area for the species is the U.S. Forest Service’s Comanche National Grassland in Colorado, which is thought to hold as much as 5% of the world population of the species. Other important sites for the species managed by the...

    • MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae)
      (pp. 86-88)

      A signature species of the oak-savanna grasslands of Mexico and adjacent regions of the southwest U.S., the Montezuma Quail is one of the most difficult bird species to observe because of its habit of remaining still and not flushing unless almost stepped on.

      Range extends from southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico south through Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains to Oaxaca. Small isolated populations occur in south-central Texas and adjacent Mexican state of Coahuila. At least 90% of the species’ global population is thought to occur within Mexico.

      Important U.S. sites for the species include Arizona’s Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge...

    • YELLOW-BILLED LOON (Gavia adamsii)
      (pp. 89-90)

      An Arctic breeding loon with a restricted wintering range and relatively small total population, the Yellow-billed Loon is a prized sighting to birders from most of North America.

      Breeds along the Arctic coasts of North America, Russia, and Europe. In North America, breeds in northern Alaska with the largest numbers along the North Slope and in western Arctic Canada. The highest densities are in the Alaska portion of breeding range from Coleville River west to Wainwright, including much of National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska. It has been estimated that nearly 100% of the U.S. breeding population and 24% of the North...

    • LAYSAN ALBATROSS (Phoebastria immutabilis)
      (pp. 91-93)

      Like its close relatives the Black-footed Albatross and Short-tailed Albatross, the Laysan Albatross was heavily hunted on its breeding islands for the feather trade during the early 1900s and populations were seriously reduced. The species had bounced back but in more recent years large numbers have been killed accidentally by longline fisheries.

      Almost the entire population breeds on islands in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands chain but small numbers nest on Bonin Islands off Japan and on Guadalupe Island and several other islands off Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Colonies once were known to occur on several other Pacific islands but were wiped...

    • BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (Phoebastria nigripes)
      (pp. 94-95)

      Although the Black-footed Albatross is one of the most commonly observed albatrosses off the west coast of North America, the population is thought to have declined by nearly 20% since 1995 as a result of mortality caused by longline fisheries in the north Pacific.

      Breeds on islands in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands chain and islands off Japan. Once bred more widely across islands in the northwest Pacific. More than 95% of the population now nests in the Hawaiian Islands. The largest colonies in the world occur at Laysan Island with about 23,000 pairs and Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge with...

    • SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS (Phoebastria albatrus)
      (pp. 96-98)

      Once thought extinct, this species was rediscovered in the 1950s but still is one of the rarest seabirds in the world. Because of its extreme rarity, any loss of individuals is considered a major setback and efforts are underway to minimize such losses, especially in the offshore fishing industry.

      Breeds on two islands off Japan and Taiwan but during the nonbreeding season ranges across the northern Pacific north to marine areas off of Russia and Alaska and east to the U.S. Pacific coast. The bulk of the population breeds on the island of Torishima, with 1,300 birds (700 adults, 800...

    • BERMUDA PETREL (Pterodroma cahow)
      (pp. 99-101)

      One of the world’s rarest seabirds and thought to be extinct for 300 years, the Bermuda Petrel population was once reduced to a few dozen birds, but through extensive hands-on management, the population has increased to nearly 200 birds and a few individuals are seen annually by birders off the North Carolina coast.

      Before human settlement of Bermuda the species was an abundant breeder on the main islands as well as surrounding small islands but rapidly declined as birds were taken for food by colonists and eggs and young were killed by introduced rats and other predators. Although the species...

    • BLACK-CAPPED PETREL (Pterodroma hasitata)
      (pp. 102-103)

      Once thought to be extinct, the Black-capped Petrel is now seen regularly in Gulf Stream waters off of the southeastern U.S.—an area that supports the largest known concentrations of its still very small population.

      Once bred in abundance in the mountains of both Greater and Lesser Antilles but the only known breeding sites now are in the mountains of Hispaniola. A total of 13 colonies is known from Massif de la Selle and Massif de la Hotte in Haiti and Sierra de Bahoruco in the Dominican Republic but the birds have been poorly surveyed because of nocturnal habits at...

    • PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER (Puffinus creatopus)
      (pp. 104-105)

      Known to North American birders as a summer visitor to offshore waters of the Pacific coast, the Pink-footed Shearwater breeds on only three islands off Chile during the southern hemisphere summer where populations are threatened by introduced mammalian predators.

      Breeds on Robinson Crusoe and Santa Clara Islands within the Juan Fernandez Islands and on Isla Mocha, all off the coast of Arauco, Chile. The largest colony at Isla Mocha is estimated at between 13,000 and 25,000 pairs. Colonies at other two islands were estimated in the range of 2,000–3,000 pairs in late 1980s and early 1990s.

      During nonbreeding season...

    • BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER (Puffinus opisthomelas)
      (pp. 106-107)

      Unusual among shearwaters, the Black-vented Shearwater occurs in waters within about 10 miles of shore and is commonly seen from points of land along the southern California coast where birds disperse from their Baja California breeding sites.

      Breeds on Natividad Island and San Benito Islands and rocky islets off of Guadalupe Island, all off of Mexico’s Baja California. Natividad Island is the most important breeding colony, supporting an estimated 95% of the world population—approximately 76,000 pairs—in 1997. San Benito Island has been estimated to support 250–500 pairs and the islets near Guadalupe Island 500–2,500 pairs, but...

    • ASHY STORM-PETREL (Oceanodroma homochroa)
      (pp. 108-109)

      Unlike most other species of storm-petrel throughout the world, this species is a resident within its very limited range in the cool waters off of coastal California, where it breeds on a handful of islands.

      Breeds at 16 locations (mostly islands) off of California and one island off of Mexico’s Baja California. Occurs year-round in marine waters off of California coast, typically within 100 miles of shore. The largest breeding colony is thought to be at South Farallon Island, with at least 2,500 pairs estimated in 2000. Channel Islands National Park is thought to support more than 10% of the...

    • BLACK STORM-PETREL (Oceanodroma melania)
      (pp. 110-112)

      One of a set of Gulf of California/Pacific Baja California seabirds that has been hard-hit by introductions of cats and rats to its offshore nesting islands. Birders in the U.S. know the species primarily from pelagic boat trips off of southern California.

      Known to breed at six locations: three in the Gulf of California (Cardinosa Island and Cardinosita, San Luis Island, and Roca Consag), two off the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja California (Los Coronado Island and San Benito Island), and one off the coast of southern California (Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island). Small numbers are suspected to breed...

    • LEAST STORM-PETREL (Oceanodroma microsoma)
      (pp. 113-115)

      A tiny storm-petrel that is most frequently seen by U.S. birders when it periodically appears in large numbers off of southern California, the Least Storm-Petrel is one of a suite of specialized marine species from Mexico’s Gulf of California.

      Breeds on islands in Mexico’s Gulf of California and Pacific Coast of Baja California, including Archipiélago Salsipuedes and Espíritu Santo Island, and on the San Benito Islands (120,000–150,000 pairs estimated in 1999) off the west coast of Baja California.

      In nonbreeding season (August–October) the bulk of the population moves south to winter at sea off the Pacific coasts of...

    • RED-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax urile)
      (pp. 116-117)

      Living year-round along remote coasts of Alaska, Russia, and Japan, the Red-faced Cormorant is one of the least-studied birds of North America. The species’ restricted range and relatively small estimated population size make it of conservation concern.

      In North America occurs year-round along coast of Alaska peninsula and Aleutian Islands with a few colonies north of Alaska peninsula and in Gulf of Alaska. Range extends outside North America to Russia’s Kuril Islands and eastern Kamchatka Peninsula and south to northern Japan. Approximately one-third of world population is estimated to occur in North America. Largest breeding colonies in North America are...

    • CALIFORNIA CONDOR (Gymnogyps californianus)
      (pp. 118-120)

      Seeing this, the largest North American landbird species, in flight over the mountains of central coastal or southern California or Arizona’s Grand Canyon is a thrill that can be enjoyed only in recent years and only because of a major concerted effort to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

      Is one of the rarest birds in the world with the dubious distinction of being one of only about 200 species worldwide with population numbering fewer than 300 individuals. California Condors had already declined before ornithologists began trying to more accurately delimit the range and estimate numbers. In...

    • FERRUGINOUS HAWK (Buteo regalis)
      (pp. 121-124)

      Like many species of shrubsteppe, grassland, and desert ecosystems of western North America, the Ferruginous Hawk has been greatly impacted by human changes in the landscape related to agriculture, grazing, invasive species, and fire frequency.

      Species breeds from southeastern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, and tiny portion of southwestern Manitoba south to Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Approximately 80–90% of the breeding range occurs within the U.S. Important breeding sites for the species in the U.S. include Idaho’s Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (55 nests) managed by the Bureau of Land Management, North Dakota’s Little Missouri National Grassland...

    • YELLOW RAIL (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
      (pp. 125-128)

      A mysterious and little-studied species, even the breeding range of the Yellow Rail remains imperfectly known, though the species was first described more than 200 years ago.

      Breeding range extends from southern Northwest Territories and Alberta east to southern Quebec and New Brunswick and south to northern Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and northeastern Montana. Within this range the species is patchily distributed but there has never been a systematic attempt to map its distribution. Approximately 90–95% of the species’ breeding range occurs within Canada. An isolated population occurs in southcentral Oregon and an isolated subspecies that occurred...

    • BLACK RAIL (Laterallus jamaicensis)
      (pp. 129-132)

      One of the most secretive and little-known members of the rail family, the Black Rail has an unusually disjunct distribution, occurring in pockets of habitat from the U.S. south to Argentina, but throughout much of the U.S. range it is a characteristic species of large saltmarsh complexes.

      Breeding range extends along the eastern coast of U.S. from Connecticut and New York (rarely) south to Florida and across Gulf Coast to Alabama, then with a gap until the southern Texas coast. Birds winter from North Carolina south to Florida and across the Gulf Coast to Texas and perhaps at least occasionally...

    • WHOOPING CRANE (Grus americana)
      (pp. 133-136)

      The Whooping Crane has served as the symbol of the plight of endangered species for several generations of conservationists. It declined to only 15 or 16 individuals before beginning a slow and continuing recovery.

      The known breeding range of the species once extended from Illinois northwest to Alberta, where the species bred in marshes in tall and mixed-grass prairie. It disappeared from the U.S. portion of this range by 1890s and from Saskatchewan by 1930. A nonmigratory population occurred in Louisiana until 1950. Birds once wintered along the coast from southern New Jersey south to Florida and along Gulf Coast...

    • AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)
      (pp. 137-141)

      One of a trio of shorebirds that rely on central North American grasslands during migration and that winter in grasslands of southern South America, the American Golden-Plover also shares the dubious distinction of having suffered enormous losses in numbers from market hunting in the U.S. in the late 1800s.

      The species has a rather extensive Arctic breeding range extending from northwestern Alaska to Baffin Island, Canada, though parts of the area are remote and little studied so the range may be less extensive than previously thought. An estimated 78% of the species total breeding range occurs in Canada. Several isolated...

    • PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva)
      (pp. 142-144)

      The Pacific Golden-Plover, unlike the closely related American Golden-Plover, has an extensive wintering range across islands of the Pacific Ocean, parts of southern Asia, northeast Africa, and Australia. In the U.S. it breeds only in western Alaska and winters in the Hawaiian and Pacific islands with small numbers in southern California.

      The species’ breeding range extends from western Alaska (where it overlaps with American Golden-Plover) across Arctic Siberia to as far west as Yamal Peninsula. Most of the nesting area in Alaska is south of the Arctic Circle. The species has a vast wintering range extending from northeastern Africa eastward...

    • SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius alexandrinus)
      (pp. 145-148)

      A ghostly pale-plumaged shorebird of barren salt flats and coastal beaches, the Snowy Plover breeds in scattered populations across North America and the world but has declined in many areas from habitat loss and disturbance.

      Species has an amazingly widespread range, occurring across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In the U.S., the inland breeding population occurs in disjunct areas across at least 12 states west of the Mississippi River. A small inland breeding population also occurs in southern Saskatchewan. Birds from the inland population apparently move to the Gulf and Pacific coasts of the U.S. and to...

    • PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus)
      (pp. 149-153)

      This small shorebird’s requirement for beach nesting habitat has placed it in direct competition with human uses of beaches for development and recreation, causing declines that have led to the species federal listing as Endangered and Threatened.

      An endemic breeding species of North America, the Piping Plover has three rather distinct breeding areas: prairie wetlands of the Great Plains of U.S. and Canada, the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic Coast of southern Canada and northeastern U.S. The Atlantic Coast breeding range extends from the southern tip of Newfoundland south to North Carolina. In the Great Lakes region of U.S. and...

    • MOUNTAIN PLOVER (Charadrius montanus)
      (pp. 154-158)

      A species endemic to the shortgrass prairies of western North America, the Mountain Plover is well suited to the original native grassland communities that were grazed by bison, prairie dogs, and pronghorn. Loss and degradation of habitat has caused great declines in numbers of Mountain Plovers as well as other species of the shortgrass prairie habitat community.

      Species breeds from central New Mexico and northwestern Texas north through the grasslands east of the Rocky Mountains to Montana. The majority of the population breeds in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. Recent estimates suggest that Colorado could support more than 60% of the...

    • ESKIMO CURLEW (Numenius borealis)
      (pp. 159-162)

      Flocks of hundreds and occasionally thousands of Eskimo Curlews were once a common sight during spring migration in the central prairies of the U.S. and Canada but extensive loss of grassland habitat, market hunting, and the extinction of a major insect food source have brought the species to near or actual extinction.

      The species was decimated before 1900 so knowledge of its range and numbers is fragmentary and has been pieced together only from diligent searching and compilation of many historical accounts. Breeding was documented at only two locations in northwestern Canada: at Bathurst Peninsula (Liverpool Bay at the mouth...

    • WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)
      (pp. 163-168)

      Unlike its close relative, the Eskimo Curlew, this species survived the market hunting era of the 1800s but its numbers remain relatively low. Its reliance on intertidal marine habitats and mangrove ecosystems in South America during the winter puts it at risk as such habitats continue to be lost and degraded.

      The species has two disjunct breeding areas in North America. One extends from western coastal Alaska west through Yukon to the northwestern coastal Northwest Territories. The other breeding area is found along the western side of the Hudson Bay from southwestern Nunavut inland to the southeastern tip of Northwest...

    • BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW (Numenius tahitiensis)
      (pp. 169-171)

      This species has one of the most restricted breeding ranges of any shorebird in North America, occurring only in southwestern coastal Alaska. Its wintering range is dramatically unusual, with birds spread across hundreds of islands both tiny and large throughout the southern Pacific where they are often killed by cats.

      The species’ breeding range is restricted entirely to southwestern Alaska, primarily along lower Yukon River and central Seward Peninsula. Wintering range extends across the south Pacific islands from the Hawaiian Islands south across the Polynesian islands to Pitcairn and Ducie Islands and Fiji. Vagrants have appeared along the Pacific Coast...

    • LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus)
      (pp. 172-175)

      One of the most dramatic of the grassland birds because of its large size and exceptionally long and decurved bill, the Long-billed Curlew once ranged over a much larger area of North America. Habitat loss and degradation, hunting, and perhaps pesticide effects all have contributed to a major decline in the species’ range and abundance.

      Species now breeds from northeastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas west to northern Utah, Nevada, and northeastern California north through the Great Basin to southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Across this range the species has a very patchy and discontinuous distribution. Breeding Bird Survey...

    • MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)
      (pp. 176-179)

      A large, primarily grassland-breeding shorebird, the Marbled Godwit disappeared from the original eastern 25% of its former range primarily because of habitat loss and reached a low overall population level in the early 1900s because of its popularity with commercial market hunters.

      The species now breeds from central Alberta east to southern Manitoba and south to Montana, North and South Dakota, and the northwestern edge of Minnesota. Disjunct populations occur in southwestern Ontario, along the western shore of James Bay, and on the Alaska Peninsula. Breeding Bird Survey maps indicate highest densities in southeastern Alberta. The breeding range once extended...

    • SURFBIRD (Aphriza virgata)
      (pp. 180-182)

      One of a suite of shorebirds specialized on feeding in the rocky intertidal zone of the Pacific coasts of the Americas, much of the Surfbird’s life history and distribution has been difficult to decipher, including the location of its high-elevation tundra breeding area, which was not discovered until 1926.

      Breeding range includes high-elevation tundra habitat throughout much of Alaska extending into western and northern Yukon but limits of distribution are poorly known. More than 75% of the global population is estimated to breed within Alaska. Important breeding areas in Alaska include Alaska’s Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Yukon Flats...

    • RED KNOT (Calidris canutus)
      (pp. 183-187)

      Famous for its spring migratory concentrations along the shore of Delaware Bay, the Red Knot has shown massive declines in recent years that are linked to dramatic declines in horseshoe crabs as a result of overfishing along the mid-Atlantic coast.

      Species has a circumpolar breeding range occurring in Arctic Russia as well as in North America and Greenland. Three of the five described subspecies breed in North America. Theroselaarisubspecies has a disjunct breeding population in northwestern Alaska, including the Seward Peninsula. Therufasubspecies breeds in northern Nunavut and Northwest Territories, mostly on Arctic islands. Theislandicasubspecies...

    • BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER (Tryngites subruficollis)
      (pp. 188-192)

      Like the Eskimo Curlew, this species was heavily hunted during the late 1800s and this, combined with massive loss of its grassland stopover habitat, resulted in a decline from hundreds of thousands or millions of individuals to an estimated 15,000 birds in 2002.

      The species breeds in the high Arctic with its range extending from the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska eastward to Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Islands, but densities vary widely across the range and from year to year. Also breeds locally in western Chukotka, Russia. Birds winter primarily in the pampas grasslands of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, but...

    • SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)
      (pp. 193-198)

      For most birders the memory of watching Short-billed Dowitchers brings back the smell of salty mudflats and saltmarshes where the birds often congregate in large numbers during migration. It is, however, the marshy wetlands within the boreal forest of Canada where an estimated 90% of the population breeds. An apparent decline of approximately 50% in the eastern population has placed the species in the conservation concern category.

      This species has four disjunct breeding areas. One (thecaurinussubspecies) extends along southern coastal Alaska from Kodiak Island east to southern Yukon and northwestern British Columbia and south to Charlotte Island, British...

    • AMERICAN WOODCOCK (Scolopax minor)
      (pp. 199-202)

      The mating display of this odd-looking shorebird is one of the signs of spring to many inhabitants of the rural eastern U.S., but the distinctive nasal “peent” sound that the males give as part of the display has disappeared from many areas as the population has declined.

      Species breeds from southeastern Manitoba east to southern Québec and southwestern Newfoundland south to northern Florida and west to eastern Texas. The southern third of the breeding range is inhabited year round, though it is unknown whether the same birds stay throughout the year. An estimated 80% of the breeding population occurs within...

    • WILSON’S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor)
      (pp. 203-207)

      Phalaropes are well known for their mating system in which females are larger, more colorful, and compete among themselves for males, who do all egg incubation and caring of young. The Wilson’s Phalarope, the only one of the three phalarope species restricted to the Western Hemisphere, is vulnerable because virtually the entire population congregates at a few saline lakes in the western U.S. to molt and feed before traveling to the South American wintering grounds.

      The northern edge of the breeding range extends from British Columbia and Northwest Territories east to southern Manitoba and Minnesota and the southern edge from...

    • HEERMANN’S GULL (Larus heermanni)
      (pp. 208-210)

      One of the most strikingly beautiful gulls in North America, the Heermann’s Gull also has one of the strangest migration patterns, traveling north after breeding in the spring to spend summer and fall along the Pacific Coast north to southern British Columbia. The species is of conservation concern because virtually the entire breeding population occurs at a single site, making it vulnerable to a natural or manmade disaster.

      Breeds in Mexico’s Gulf of California at about seven sites and two sites along the Pacific coast of Baja California but occasionally also at other small islands. Isla Rasa is the most...

    • RED-LEGGED KITTIWAKE (Rissa brevirostris)
      (pp. 211-213)

      A little-known close relative of the more abundant Black-legged Kittiwake, this species has a tiny breeding range on islands in the Bering Sea but its wintering range is virtually unknown.

      Breeds on four island groups in the Bering Sea. St. George and St. Paul islands in the Pribilofs host more than 70% (100,000+ individuals) and Bering Island and Commander Islands, Russia about 18% (30,000+ individuals) of the global population. Smaller breeding populations occur on Buldir Island (4,400 birds in the 1970s) and Bogoslof Island (200 birds in 1973). During the breeding season birds feed over deep water within 70–90...

    • ELEGANT TERN (Thalasseus elegans)
      (pp. 214-216)

      The tern species with the most restricted range of any in North America, the Elegant Tern is also one of the least studied. The species is vulnerable because the bulk of its global population breeds on only a single island in the Gulf of California.

      Breeds in Mexico’s Gulf of California at two sites and at two sites along the Pacific Coast of southern California but occasionally also at other small islands. Isla Rasa, in the Gulf of California, is the most important breeding colony, with early 1990s estimates of 44,000 individuals, representing 90–95% of the total breeding population....

    • MARBLED MURRELET (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
      (pp. 217-220)

      Unlike most alcids (or even most seabirds), the Marbled Murrelet nests solitarily rather than in colonies but perhaps most astonishingly, its nests are usually placed on the branches of towering old-growth coniferous trees along the Pacific Coast of Canada, and the U.S.

      Breeding range extends from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands through coastal regions of southern Alaska and British Columbia to northern California (Humboldt County) with an isolated population 270 miles further south at Half Moon Bay. Breeding range generally extends inland no further than about 50 miles from coastline. Birds also tend to stay relatively close to shore when feeding, usually...

    • KITTLITZ’S MURRELET (Brachyramphus brevirostris)
      (pp. 221-223)

      One of the poorest known of the North American alcids, this species has a spotty and restricted breeding range in isolated and hard-to-access mountainous habitat in Alaska and adjacent coastal Siberia. Its wintering range is still essentially unknown.

      Breeding range extends from Juneau area northwest along the southern coast of Alaska through the larger Aleutian Islands to Attu and along the Siberian coast from the Okhotsk Sea to the Chukchi Sea. North of the Alaska Peninsula the species is known to breed along Bristol Bay, Seward Peninsula, and Lisburne Peninsula. Limits of breeding distribution are poorly known because few nests...

    • XANTUS’S MURRELET (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus)
      (pp. 224-226)

      Unusual among alcids, Xantus’s Murrelet occurs further south and in warmer waters than all but the related Craveri’s Murrelet and the southern subspecies of the Cassin’s Auklet. It breeds on a few islands off of California and Mexico’s Baja California peninsula but it has been extirpated or its numbers have been severely reduced by introduced cats and rats.

      Breeds regularly on 5–6 islands off of California and 4–6 islands off of Mexico’s Baja California. Largest breeding colonies are on Santa Barbara Island within California’s Channel Islands National Park (500–1,250 pairs estimated from 2000–2003), Mexico’s Guadalupe Islands...

    • CRAVERI’S MURRELET (Synthliboramphus craveri)
      (pp. 227-228)

      Although not a species that nests within the U.S., Craveri’s Murrelet regularly occurs off the coast of southern California where it is sometimes seen in good numbers by birders on pelagic boat trips. The species breeds on relatively few islands within Mexico’s Gulf of California and the Pacific Coast of Baja California and has been severely reduced by depredation from introduced rats, cats, and other mammals.

      Breeds regularly at 10–11 islands or island groups, most within Mexico’s Gulf of California, but also thought to breed on the Pacific coast of Baja at Islas San Benito, though no nests have...

    • WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (Patagioenas leucocephala)
      (pp. 229-231)

      The White-crowned Pigeon, a Caribbean species with a small breeding population in the southern tip of Florida, has been negatively impacted by habitat loss throughout its range and overhunting in parts of the Caribbean.

      The White-crowned Pigeon is essentially restricted to the Caribbean, ranging from the Florida Keys and Everglades through the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, the northern Lesser Antilles (to Guadeloupe), and with small populations along the coast of Yucatán, Mexico, and the Caribbean coast of Panama. The bulk of the world population is thought to occur in Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, with less than...

    • GREEN PARAKEET (Aratinga holochlora)
      (pp. 232-235)

      The northernmost naturally occurring parakeet in North America (since the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet), the Green Parakeet is most familiar to U.S. birders from the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, where it occurs in suburban and agricultural habitats. The species limits are confusing, with some authors splitting the taxon into as many as four species, but the American Ornithologists’ Union considers all populations to be a single species ranging from southeastern Texas through Mexico to Nicaragua.

      There are four described subspecies within the currently recognized species, each with a disjunct range. The northeastern subspecies (A. h. holochlora), which...

    • THICK-BILLED PARROT (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha)
      (pp. 236-239)

      Breaking the traditional stereotype of the tropical nature of parrots, the Thick-billed Parrot inhabits high-elevation coniferous forests of northwestern Mexico and formerly occurred at least occasionally in the border regions of the southwest U.S. Intensive logging of its habitat (which it once shared with the now extinct Imperial Woodpecker) and continued taking of birds for the wild bird trade have resulted in major declines.

      Current breeding range within the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico extends from northwest Chihuahua and northeast Sonora south to northwest Durango. Historically, birds may have also bred in mountains of southern Arizona and southwest New Mexico...

    • RED-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona viridigenalis)
      (pp. 240-243)

      A species with a very restricted natural range in northeastern Mexico, Red-crowned Parrot has been a popular cage bird, with the result that escaped birds have established breeding populations in several urban centers within the U.S. Sadly, there may now be more birds in feral populations than in populations within the native range.

      A very restricted range species that now occurs in urban areas of the Rio Grande Valley of southeastern Texas and in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León south to northeast Veracruz. Populations now breeding in the urban Rio Grande Valley of southeastern Texas are probably...

    • SPOTTED OWL (Strix occidentalis)
      (pp. 244-247)

      A species of mature and old-growth forests of regions of the western U.S. and Mexico, the Spotted Owl became an icon for the protection of such forests and, therefore, hated by those wishing to harvest those forests because of their high economic value. Despite its federal listing as a Threatened species in the U.S., populations continue to decline.

      Three subspecies (Northern, California, Mexican) have been described that are quite distinct, though there is some very limited intergradation between the Northern and California subspecies in northern California. Northern Spotted Owl is resident from southern British Columbia south through Pacific slope forests...

    • RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus)
      (pp. 248-250)

      While this species has shown continuing long-term declines in its overall population, there has been an unexplained corresponding increase in winter sightings across the southeastern U.S. Banding studies have begun to unravel some of the mysteries of Rufous Hummingbird migration but reasons for its decline and many aspects of its life history and wintering status are poorly known.

      The Rufous Hummingbird breeding range extends from southern Alaska south through British Columbia and western Saskatchewan to western Montana, Idaho, and northwestern corner of California. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate highest densities along the coasts of Oregon,...

    • RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
      (pp. 251-254)

      One of the most charismatic of birds familiar to backyard birders, the Red-headed Woodpecker is endemic to the eastern U.S. and southern Canada. Once one of the most common birds of towns and cities, it has experienced a long-term rangewide decline.

      The northern edge of the species’ range extends from southern Saskatchewan east to southern Québec. From there the range extends south to Texas and east to Florida. Small isolated populations occur in eastern New Mexico. Birds vacate the northern 20% of range and winter slightly to the southwest of the breeding range in Texas. Breeding density maps produced from...

    • RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER (Picoides borealis)
      (pp. 255-258)

      This and the Brown-headed Nuthatch, as species endemic to native pine forests of the southeast U.S., are excellent indicator species whose declines mirror the almost catastrophic loss of the native pine ecosystems of the region.

      The southern extent of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker range extends from Florida west to eastern Texas, while the northern edge now extends from Oklahoma east to Virginia. Across the range populations have become extensively fragmented and isolated and now occur as about 75 distinct populations. The species once ranged further north but disappeared from Missouri by 1946, Maryland by 1958, Tennessee by 1994, and Kentucky by...

    • IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus principalis)
      (pp. 259-261)

      The reported rediscovery of this thought-to-be extinct species in 2004 in a cypress swamp in Arkansas captured the world’s attention. While efforts to obtain further proof of its existence continue, the lessons learned from the history of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s decline will hopefully never be forgotten.

      The Ivory-billed Woodpecker range once spanned from eastern Texas across the Gulf states to Florida and north along the coastal plain to southeastern North Carolina, then up the Mississippi River and its tributaries to eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, and southern Indiana and Illinois. Last unquestionably confirmed individuals persisted to 1944 in the Singer...

    • OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi)
      (pp. 262-266)

      The loud, snappy “Quick-three-beers!” song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher is usually the first indication of the presence of this species within its coniferous forest breeding habitat. Its breeding range extends across the boreal zone of Alaska and Canada (almost 60% of its entire population breeds in the boreal region) and the northeastern U.S. and south at high elevations through the western U.S. Within this range the species has experienced significant declines that may be linked to loss of habitat on its South American wintering grounds.

      The breeding range extends from Alaska across the boreal forest of Canada to Labrador and...

    • BELL’S VIREO (Vireo bellii)
      (pp. 267-270)

      A species characteristic of shrubby habitats of the midwest and southwest U.S. and northern Mexico, especially along rivers and streams, the Bell’s Vireo has declined by more than 50% since the 1960s.

      The Bell’s Vireo breeding range encompasses much of the Mississippi River drainage in the midwest U.S. extending from south central North Dakota, southern Wisconsin, southern Michigan, and western Ohio south through Texas into northern Mexico and west across southern New Mexico, Arizona, and southern Nevada to California. The endangered Least Bell’s Vireo subspecies occurs only in the southern half of California. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird...

    • BLACK-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo atricapillus)
      (pp. 271-273)

      A strikingly handsome songbird of the hot, dry scrub vegetation of the southern Midwest, the Black-capped Vireo has experienced a 50% reduction in its range and is now federally listed as Endangered.

      The Black-capped Vireo breeding range once extended from south central Kansas south through Oklahoma and central Texas through the Mexican state of Coahuila to southern Nuevo León. The species had disappeared from Kansas by the 1950s, had been reduced to three small populations in Oklahoma and was gone from much of northern portion of former Texas range by the 1990s. An estimated 60% of the breeding population is...

    • GRAY VIREO (Vireo vicinior)
      (pp. 274-276)

      With its very limited breeding and wintering range in the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico, its preference for dry scrubby habitats that are being destroyed and degraded, and the lack of knowledge about its status, Gray Vireo is a species that warrants national conservation concern.

      Endemic to southwestern North America, the Gray Vireo breeding range extends from Nevada, Utah, and Colorado south through the U.S.–Mexico border states to Mexico’s northern Baja California and northern Coahuila. Within this range the species has a very patchy and discontinuous distribution.

      Breeding density maps produced from the rather limited amount of Breeding Bird...

    • FLORIDA SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
      (pp. 277-279)

      The signature species of Florida’s highly endangered native shrub-scrub habitat, the Florida Scrub-Jay is also one of the most intensely studied bird species in the world. Sadly, populations of the species continue to decline in the face of continued habitat destruction and habitat degradation caused by fire suppression.

      Found only in Peninsular Florida once occupying 39 of the 40 counties but now restricted to 31 counties. Populations are highly fragmented, with fewer than 10 breeding pairs estimated from 6 of the remaining counties. Important sites for the species include Ocala National Forest, which supports an estimated 19% of the population...

    • ISLAND SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma insularis)
      (pp. 280-281)

      One of only two species that do not occur anywhere outside of California, the Island Scrub-Jay occurs only on Santa Cruz Island off of southern California where its population currently appears stable.

      Found only on Santa Cruz Island (60,645 acres) within the Channel Islands off of southern California. The largest part of the island (76%) is owned by the Nature Conservancy (TNC), with the remainder under National Park Service ownership as part of Channel Islands National Park. The species total population size was estimated at 12,500 individuals in 1997.1,2

      Occurs in several habitat types on the island, including chaparral and...

    • PINYON JAY (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus)
      (pp. 282-283)

      A highly social jay endemic to pinyon pine habitats of the western U.S. and (barely) Mexico, flocks can number in the hundreds. The conversion of millions of acres of pinyon pine to grasslands for cattle grazing has resulted in a decline in abundance estimated at more than 80% over the last 40 years.

      Endemic to southwestern North America, the Pinyon Jay breeding range extends from central Oregon, southern Idaho and Montana south to southeastern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Small isolated populations occur in South Dakota, Nebraska, and in Mexico’s Baja California Norte. In years with little or no seeds...

    • BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH (Sitta pusilla)
      (pp. 284-286)

      This species has shown a consistent long-term rangewide decline over the last three decades but is inferred to have suffered massive declines in the late 1800s and early 1900s as virtually all of its southern pine habitat was removed by logging.

      The species breeds in pine forests from eastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma east across southern Arkansas and southeastern Tennessee to southern Virginia and Delaware south through the Gulf states, but is more patchily distributed in Peninsular Florida. An isolated population occurs on Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas but was thought to be nearly extirpated by 1998. Breeding density...

    • CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER (Polioptila californica)
      (pp. 287-289)

      A tiny bird with an inconspicuous wheezy call, the California Gnatcatcher occurs only in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and adjacent border regions of southwestern coastal California, where it has become one of the most well-known representative species of the globally unique community of endemic plants and animals of Baja California.

      Endemic to Baja California, the California Gnatcatcher year-round range extends from extreme southwestern California south to the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Important breeding areas for the species in California include Camp Pendleton Marine Corp base (600 pairs in 1998), Lake Hodges/San Dieguito River Park (80 pairs), and the San...

    • BICKNELL’S THRUSH (Catharus bicknelli)
      (pp. 290-292)

      One of the bird species with the most restricted breeding range in the eastern U.S., the Bicknell’s Thrush’s specialization on high-elevation habitat in most of its breeding range has made it difficult for researchers to study and for birders to observe.

      The Bicknell’s Thrush breeding range extends from a restricted portion of southeastern Québec, northern New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island south through restricted high elevation habitats of central and western Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains of New York. Throughout the U.S. portion of range, populations occur as a series of island-like patches...

    • BENDIRE’S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei)
      (pp. 293-295)

      A poorly known species that is cryptic enough that leading ornithologists of the late 1800s didn’t recognize the first specimen as a new species and thought it was instead a female Curve-billed Thrasher. The species’ limited southwestern U.S. and Mexican desert breeding range and declining trend make it of conservation concern.

      The limits of the Bendire’s Thrasher range remains poorly documented because of difficulties in identification and lack of observers throughout much of its range. Breeding range extends from southwestern California east across southern Nevada and Utah to the southwestern corner of Colorado then south through Arizona and western New...

    • SPRAGUE’S PIPIT (Anthus spragueii)
      (pp. 296-298)

      A poorly known species perhaps because of its rather plain plumage and preference for open, windswept grasslands, the Sprague’s Pipit is also one of the fastest declining songbirds of North America.

      The species’ restricted breeding range extends from southeastern Alberta across southern Saskatchewan to southwestern Manitoba then south to northwestern South Dakota and the eastern two-thirds of Montana. A small extension of the eastern range extends barely over the border into northwestern Minnesota. Range is known to have contracted in Minnesota and Manitoba. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate highest densities in southeastern Alberta.

      Important breeding...

    • BACHMAN’S WARBLER (Vermivora bachmanii)
      (pp. 299-302)

      This species, like its counterpart the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, was doomed by the massive clearing of southern bottomland forest for agriculture and logs and from similar loss of habitat on its Cuban wintering grounds.

      The Bachman’s Warbler breeding range was restricted to the southeastern U.S. from eastern Texas across the Gulf states to Georgia (but excluding Florida) and north along the coastal plain to Virginia and southern Maryland then up the Mississippi and its tributaries to the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and southern Indiana and Illinois. From the limited information available it is thought that the...

    • GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)
      (pp. 303-305)

      The Golden-winged Warbler is perhaps the most imperiled of a suite of declining bird species restricted to shrub-scrub habitats of the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada.

      The Golden-winged Warbler breeding range is restricted to the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada from southern Manitoba east to the southeastern corner of Quebec and south to Vermont, New York, Michigan, and Minnesota and south through the Appalachians to Georgia. The range expanded northward in the last decades of the 20th century while disappearing from many areas in the central part of range. Small numbers may still occasionally breed in northern Illinois, Indiana, and...

    • VIRGINIA’S WARBLER (Vermivora virginiae)
      (pp. 306-307)

      Within its western U.S. breeding range, Virginia’s Warbler occupies habitats, especially pinyon-juniper woodlands, that are becoming increasingly destroyed and degraded by human activity.

      The Virginia’s Warbler breeding range extends from southern Idaho and Wyoming south through Arizona and New Mexico and west to Calfornia. Isolated populations are also known from South Dakota and Texas. Within this range the species has a very patchy and discontinuous distribution. Breeding density maps produced from the rather limited amount of Breeding Bird Survey data available for the species indicate highest densities in central Arizona, western Colorado, and north-central New Mexico.

      Important breeding areas for...

    • COLIMA WARBLER (Vermivora crissalis)
      (pp. 308-309)

      The breeding range of this essentially Mexican warbler barely reaches into the U.S. within the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park along the Texas–Mexico border. Its very limited breeding range and relatively small estimated population make it a species of conservation concern.

      The Colima Warbler breeding range extends from barely over the Texas border in the Chisos Mountains south through the Mexican states of Coahuila and Nuevo León south to southwestern Tamaulipas, northeast Zacatecas, and northern San Luis Potosi, but populations are patchily distributed across the range. An estimated 1% of the breeding population is found in the...

    • LUCY’S WARBLER (Vermivora luciae)
      (pp. 310-311)

      This inconspicuous warbler has a limited breeding range in the southwestern U.S. and adjacent Mexico and breeds in mesquite woodlands and riparian habitats that have been severely degraded in much of its range. It is one of the poorest-known warblers of North America.

      Endemic to southwestern North America, the Lucy’s Warbler breeding range extends from California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado south through Arizona and New Mexico (rare in southwestern Texas) to Mexico’s northern Baja California and northern Sonora and barely extending into the northwestern corner of Chihuahua. Within this range the species has a very patchy and discontinuous distribution.

      Breeding...

    • GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER (Dendroica chrysoparia)
      (pp. 312-314)

      One of the bird species with the most restricted breeding ranges in the U.S., the Golden-cheeked Warbler nests only within central Texas, where its mature juniper-oak habitat has been greatly reduced from clearing for agriculture and development.

      The entire Golden-cheeked Warbler breeding range lies within central Texas. It is known to breed in 25 of the state’s 254 counties but even over this small area the species is patchily distributed with populations becoming increasingly fragmented in some areas. Important breeding sites for the species include Fort Hood Military Installation (4,500 pairs), Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (800 singing males), Pedernales...

    • GRACE’S WARBLER (Dendroica graciae)
      (pp. 315-317)

      The sweet song of the Grace’s Warbler drifts down from the tops of tall ponderosa pines in the open mountain forests of the southwestern U.S., where it reaches its northern range limit. One of the least-studied warblers, the Grace’s Warbler is identified by Partners in Flight as a species of concern because of its limited U.S. breeding range, threats to wintering habitat in Mexico and Central America, and its possible decline on the breeding range.

      In the U.S., it occurs only in the southwestern states, the breeding range extending from southern Colorado, Nevada, and Utah south through Mexico to Nicaragua....

    • KIRTLAND’S WARBLER (Dendroica kirtlandii)
      (pp. 318-320)

      The rarest breeding songbird of the U.S. (excluding the presumed extinct Bachman’s Warbler), Kirtland’s Warbler is one of a suite of rare species in North America that depend on regular fires to maintain proper habitat and that have suffered from the misguided policies of fire suppression in ecological systems.

      The entire Kirtland’s Warbler breeding range lies within northern Michigan. It is known to breed in 13 of the state’s Lower Peninsula counties and three counties in the state’s Upper Peninsula. Unpaired singing males have occasionally occurred in neighboring Wisconsin and Ontario and in Québec. Virtually the entire population breeds within...

    • PRAIRIE WARBLER (Dendroica discolor)
      (pp. 321-324)

      The buzzy, chromatically ascending song of the Prairie Warbler is a familiar sound of pine barren habitat and shrubby second growth across the eastern U.S. where it breeds. It winters almost exclusively in the Greater Antilles and southern Florida.

      The Prairie Warbler breeding range is almost completely restricted to the eastern U.S. from southern New England west to Indiana and Missouri and south to Texas and the Gulf Coast states. Isolated populations occur in Ontario, Michigan, Iowa, and Kansas. A specialized mangrove-inhabiting subspecies (D.d. paludicola) breeds in coastal southern Florida. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate...

    • BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Dendroica castanea)
      (pp. 325-328)

      A characteristic species of the vast boreal forests of Canada, the Bay-breasted Warbler shows great increases in abundance during spruce budworm outbreaks, but despite this it has shown significant declines in recent years. It winters in northern South America and southern Central America.

      The Bay-breasted Warbler breeding range extends from southeastern Yukon and northeastern British Columbia across the boreal forest of Canada to the Maritime Provinces and southwestern Newfoundland and south through northern Minnesota, Michigan, and northern New England. A small, isolated population occurs in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data...

    • CERULEAN WARBLER (Dendroica cerulea)
      (pp. 329-332)

      One of the fastest declining songbirds in the U.S., the Cerulean Warbler breeds in mature forests of the eastern U.S. and winters in the Andes Mountains of South America.

      The Cerulean Warbler breeding range is restricted to eastern North America from southern Ontario west to southeastern Minnesota south to Arkansas, western Alabama, and northern Mississippi. Within this range the species has a very patchy and discontinuous distribution with small isolated populations in southwestern Quebec, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Nebraska. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate highest densities in West Virginia, southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, northcentral Tennessee,...

    • PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)
      (pp. 333-336)

      This large, golden warbler nests in holes in swamp forests of the eastern U.S. Its mangrove wintering habitat along the coasts of Central and South America is being rapidly lost and degraded.

      Breeding range is restricted to the eastern U.S., barely making it as far north as extreme southern Ontario. Its U.S. range extends from New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania (rarely farther north) west to southern Minnesota south to eastern Texas across the Gulf states to Florida. Within this range the species has a patchy distribution influenced by the availability of flooded forest habitat. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding...

    • WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum)
      (pp. 337-340)

      The trilling song of the Worm-eating Warbler drifts from the hillsides of deciduous forests of the eastern U.S. during the summer breeding season, where in some areas its song can be easily confused with similar sounding species like the Chipping Sparrow and the Dark-eyed Junco. The species is of conservation concern because of its relatively low breeding density and fragmented breeding range.

      The Worm-eating Warbler breeding range is restricted to the eastern U.S. from southern Massachusetts west to southern Wisconsin and south to extreme eastern Texas and the Gulf states to Georgia. In many areas populations are highly fragmented and...

    • SWAINSON’S WARBLER (Limnothlypis swainsonii)
      (pp. 341-343)

      A rather secretive and little-studied bird of southeastern forests, the Swainson’s Warbler has increased in recent years but has a relatively small estimated total population size compared to other songbirds in North America.

      The Swainson’s Warbler breeding range is restricted to the southeastern U.S. from southern Virginia westward to southern Missouri and eastern Oklahoma south to eastern Texas and the Gulf states to northern Florida. Within this range the species has a very patchy and discontinuous distribution. Breeding density maps produced from the rather limited amount of Breeding Bird Survey data available for the species indicate highest densities in eastern...

    • KENTUCKY WARBLER (Oporornis formosus)
      (pp. 344-346)

      A secretive bird of thick, shrubby forest understory, the Kentucky Warbler song is a familiar summer sound of the southeast U.S. The species has shown significant declines in recent decades making it a bird of a conservation concern.

      The Kentucky Warbler breeding range is restricted to the eastern U.S. from southern New Jersey west to southern Wisconsin and south to eastern Texas and the Gulf states to northwestern Florida. A disjunct population occurs in southeastern New York’s Hudson Valley. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate highest densities over a relatively broad region within the Mississippi and...

    • CANADA WARBLER (Wilsonia canadensis)
      (pp. 347-351)

      A favorite among birders for its loud song and strikingly contrasting plumage, the Canada Warbler has consistently declined over the last forty years. As its name suggests, the bulk of the population breeds in Canada, primarily in the boreal forest region.

      The Canada Warbler breeding range extends from extreme northeastern British Columbia across Canada to the Maritime Provinces (but not Newfoundland) and south through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and the northeast U.S. and at upper elevations south through the Appalachian Mountains to Georgia. Isolated populations occur in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate...

    • BACHMAN’S SPARROW (Aimophila aestivalis)
      (pp. 352-354)

      The Bachman’s Sparrow’s pure, whistled song was a familiar sound within the millions of acres of mature pine forest that once blanketed much of the southeastern U.S. This and other species of the native pine ecosystems like the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Brown-headed Nuthatch have shown major declines.

      The species’ current breeding range extends from southern Missouri and southern Tennessee to North Carolina and south through the Gulf states from Texas east to Florida. An isolated population persists in southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee and an extension of the North Carolina range extends into a small area of southeastern Virginia. The...

    • BREWER’S SPARROW (Spizella breweri)
      (pp. 355-358)

      Less charismatic then the Greater Sage-Grouse with which it shares its breeding range, the Brewer’s Sparrow has been described as the most abundant bird of the sagebrush sea and its song is one of the most memorable features of this habitat.

      Breeding range extends from extreme southeastern British Columbia, southern Manitoba and Alberta south to eastern California and east to northern New Mexico. A small isolated population occurs in southwestern Oklahoma. A disjunct population described by some authors as a separate species, the Timberline Sparrow, breeds in southwestern Yukon and adjacent regions of southeast Alaska. Winter range extends from southern...

    • BAIRD’S SPARROW (Ammodramus bairdii)
      (pp. 359-361)

      The Baird’s Sparrow’s musical song is a characteristic sound of grasslands of the Northern Great Plains but this species has shown great declines like many other grassland birds.

      The species’ restricted breeding range extends from southeastern Alberta across southern Saskatchewan to the southwestern corner of Manitoba then south to northern South Dakota and the eastern two-thirds of Montana. A very small disjunct population occurs in western Minnesota. The range is known to have contracted in Minnesota and Manitoba. Breeding density maps produced from Breeding Bird Survey data indicate highest densities in North Dakota, northeastern Montana, and southern Saskatchewan. Important breeding...

    • HENSLOW’S SPARROW (Ammodramus henslowii)
      (pp. 362-365)

      The Henslow’s Sparrow’s simple, insect-like song was once a common summer sound across the expanses of tallgrass prairie of the midwest U.S. and coastal grasslands of the eastern U.S. Now the population has been greatly reduced from the virtual elimination of the native tallgrass prairie and coastal grasslands combined with the similar massive loss of its southeastern U.S. pine-savanna wintering habitat.

      The species’ current breeding range extends from southeastern Minnesota east to western New York (small numbers in extreme southern Ontario) south through Pennsylvania to western West Virginia and west to the northeastern corner of Oklahoma. Small isolated populations occur...

    • SALTMARSH SHARP-TAILED SPARROW (Ammodramus caudacutus)
      (pp. 366-368)

      This highly specialized sparrow inhabits only the narrow fringe of saltmarsh habitat along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, where its weak song is often impossible to hear over the constant ocean breeze.

      The species’ restricted breeding range extends as a narrow strip within saltmarshes along Atlantic coast from southern Maine to Virginia. Until relatively recently the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow was considered a subspecies with its closest relative the Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow under the name Sharp-tailed Sparrow. The two species were thought to overlap in only a small section of the southern Maine coast, but recent research has shown that the...

    • HARRIS’S SPARROW (Zonotrichia querula)
      (pp. 369-372)

      The only songbird whose global breeding range is restricted to Canada, the Harris’s Sparrow also has an unusual wintering range, occurring only in a rather narrow corridor within the midwest U.S.

      The Harris’s Sparrow northern tundra-forest breeding range extends from northwestern Northwest Territories east across northeastern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba to western Nunavut and south to the northwestern corner of Ontario. There is no available information about densities of the species across the breeding range. The species’ entire population breeds within Canada with the bulk of the range within Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Important breeding areas for the species include...

    • MCKAY’S BUNTING (Plectrophenax hyperboreus)
      (pp. 373-374)

      One of the most restricted range species of North American birds and as a consequence also one of the least numerous. It is the only bird species endemic to Alaska and is virtually unstudied.

      McKay’s Bunting breeds only on the small Bering Sea islands of Hall and St. Matthew. Occasional possible breeding records have been reported for St. Lawrence and St. Paul islands but have never been confirmed. In winter it migrates to the Bering Sea coast of western Alaska with most of the population thought to winter between Seward and Alaska peninsulas. Birds are occasionally found north and south...

    • PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)
      (pp. 375-377)

      The gaudy, dramatically colorful plumage of the male Painted Bunting has made it not only a favorite of birdwatchers but, sadly, also a favorite of the caged-bird trade. In its Mexican, Central American, and Cuban wintering range the species is captured in the thousands for sale and export.

      The Painted Bunting breeding range is split into two distinct areas. The species has a limited eastern range occurring along the coastal plain from North Carolina south to northeastern Florida. The western range is much larger, extending from Kansas and southern Missouri south through Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas and into the Mexican...

    • TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius tricolor)
      (pp. 378-380)

      Perhaps a better name for this species would be California Blackbird as virtually its entire population occurs in that state. Tricolored Blackbird is very similar in appearance to its closest relative, the Red-winged Blackbird, but is quite different behaviorally; the Tricolored Blackbird is North America’s most colonial passerine. Habitat loss in its restricted range has raised it to a species of national conservation concern.

      The Tricolored Blackbird occurs year-round in the Central Valley and coastal regions of central and southern California. Small numbers have bred at isolated locations in Oregon, Nevada, and Washington and in northern Baja California. Breeding density...

    • RUSTY BLACKBIRD (Euphagus carolinus)
      (pp. 381-384)

      The northernmost breeding blackbird, the Rusty Blackbird also has the dubious distinction of showing one of the steepest declines of any North American bird. It is also one of the least-studied blackbird species.

      The Rusty Blackbird breeding range extends from Alaska across the boreal forest of Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland and south through northern Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and northern New England. Except for small numbers in northern New England and New York, Canada and Alaska support nearly the entire breeding population of the Rusty Blackbird. An estimated 85% of the global population breeds in the boreal forests of...

  12. Appendix I. North American Birds of Conservation Concern Listed by Different Agencies and Organizations
    (pp. 385-420)
  13. Appendix II. Hawaiian Birds of Conservation Concern and Extinct Species
    (pp. 421-423)
  14. Appendix III. Mexican Government Official List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Bird Species
    (pp. 424-430)
  15. Appendix IV. Agencies and Organizations Involved in Bird Conservation
    (pp. 431-436)
  16. ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
    (pp. 437-438)
  17. Index
    (pp. 439-452)