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Red List updates a mixed bag for North American birds

Painted Bunting’s status has been changed to Least Concern. Photo by Ray Robles

Down-listed to Least Concern

Red-headed Woodpecker. Decades of habitat management appear to have helped this widespread species. While its population still shows signs of slight decline, BirdLife experts feel it is doing well enough to come off the Near Threatened list.

Henslow’s Sparrow. This eastern bird’s numbers have risen in recent decades, in part thanks to the Conservation Reserve Program, in which farmers are paid to remove environmentally sensitive land from cultivation and instead plant species that will improve the health and quality of the habitat.

Painted Bunting. This shrubland bird has a stable population of about 14 million adults, and Christmas Bird Count data suggest it may have increased since the 1960s.

Bell’s Vireo. This species is thought to be increasing annually by 2.6 percent. In 2016, it was estimated to number 5.9 million adults throughout its broad range.

A version of this article was published in “Birding Briefs” in the March/April 2019 issue of BirdWatching. The print version erroneously noted that the Chimney Swift is a passerine; in fact, it and the other swift species are members of the order Apodiformes, along with the hummingbirds and treeswifts. 

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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and He joined the staff of BirdWatching (formerly Birder’s World) in 2000 and has worn many hats over the years: reporter, story wrangler, photo editor, managing editor, and now editor. Originally from Omaha, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Milwaukee and holds a Bachelor’s in journalism from Marquette University. You can reach Matt at (617) 706-9098 and [email protected].

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