Study: Bird Population in North America Significantly Decreased

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. explicitly / ɪkˈsplɪs ɪt li / (adv) – in a clear, complete, and detailed manner

    The students had a hard time doing the experiment because the teacher did not explicitly say what they should do.

  2. extensive / ɪkˈstɛn sɪv / (adj) – covering a wide range

    The massive fire caused extensive damage to the forest.

  3. agent / ˈeɪ dʒənt / (n) – a natural force that produces a certain effect

    Bees are effective agents of reproduction among flowers.

  4. single-use / ˈsɪŋ gəl yus / (adj) – meant to be thrown away after one use

    The prevalence of single-use packaging worsened the world’s problem with trash.

  5. bounce back / baʊns bæk / (phrasal) – to go back to normal after a difficulty

    The population of ducks and geese bounced back after the government banned hunting those animals.


Read the text below.

A recent study revealed that the bird population in North America has significantly dropped in the last 50 years.

Statistical analysis of bird populations since 1970 revealed that birds in the United States and Canada have decreased by 2.9 billion. According to researchers, the results were notable because they showed that the birds lost are not only from threatened species in the wild. They found that a huge number came from species commonly found in backyards or cities, such as sparrows.

The study did not explicitly discuss the reasons for the population decline. However, experts hypothesize that this extensive loss was caused by the destruction of the birds’ habitat.

The decline causes a serious concern because birds are vital to the ecosystem. They play an important role in the food chain, like eating insects that humans consider as pests. They also serve as agents of reproduction to various types of plants.

In response to this alarming issue, a website called has been launched to teach people simple tips on how to keep birds safe. Suggestions on the website include installing screens on windows to prevent birds from crashing into buildings, keeping cats indoors, adding native plants to backyards for bird shelter, avoiding pesticides and single-use plastics, and supporting coffee producers that do not destroy bird habitats.

Researchers are hopeful that proper funding of bird conservation efforts will help the population to bounce back. They also believe that policy decisions will be of great help to protect birds and their habitat.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Given the role of birds mentioned in the article, what do you think will happen if the bird population continues to decline? Discuss.
• Do you think following the tips recommended on the website can reverse the decline of the bird population? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• How can people be encouraged to support companies that manufacture goods without harming the environment? Discuss.
• If you were a lawmaker, would you make animal conservation a number one priority? Why or why not?