There’s nothing better than watching hummingbirds visiting your neighborhood. However, there’s a rumor that these tiny birds have a shrinking population. Are hummingbird populations declining? Let’s find out below!
Are hummingbird populations declining?
It’s heartbreaking, but some hummingbird populations have severely declined over the past. Due to many reasons, hummingbirds strive hard to survive amidst harsh environmental conditions. However, some of the hummingbird types have retained their population without showing any decline in their numbers.
According to a research paper published by Simon G. English, Christine A. Bishop, Scott Wilson, and Adam C. Smith on the population trends among North American hummingbirds, several notable statistics have been revealed. So, let’s analyze them in detail right below!
1. Allen’s hummingbirds
Allen’s hummingbirds changed by 88% from 1970 to 2019 at an average yearly rate of 4.3%. Allen’s hummingbird populations had a sharply steepened short-term decline at a rate that was nearly twice as fast as it had been in the previous 50 years.
2. Rufous hummingbirds
Net population change for Rufous hummingbirds between 1970 and 2019 was 65%, or 2.1% annually. Additionally, their population reduction has accelerated by roughly a factor of two, reaching 4.1% annually. The Rufous hummingbird’s range’s Pacific Coast appears to be where these trends are most pronounced.
3. Broad-tailed hummingbirds
Broad-tailed hummingbird population trends showed a net change of 37% over the long term at 0.95% per year and 2.4% per year over the short term. The southernmost part of their range is where declines are most noticeable.
4. Calliope hummingbirds
Neither in the short duration nor the long term, calliope populations are not significantly altering. As of right now, they are quite steady and untouched by alterations in the environment. However, like other hummers, they can soon undergo sharp population decreases.
5. Black-chinned hummingbird
The population of black-chinned hummingbirds on the continent expanded by 52% from 1970 to 2019 at a rate of 0.86% per year. Black-chinned hummingbirds’ short-term population trends from 2009 to 2019 were largely constant, although there seems to be a signal of moderate decreases across the majority of the species’ range.
6. Ruby-throated hummingbird
Since 1970, the population of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds has grown by 79% at a pace of 1.2% per year. The population of ruby-throated hummingbirds, which changed by 9.5% at an average rate of 0.99% per year across the breeding region over a ten-year period, also started to reverse trends.
Between 2004 and 2019, the ruby-throated hummingbird population in North America decreased at an average yearly rate of 1.20%, or an estimated 17%.
7. Anna’s hummingbirds
The number of Anna’s hummingbirds rose 2.7% per year between 1970 and 2019. The northern and western portions of the hummer species’ present distribution showed the most severe acceleration of this tendency in the short term.
8. Costa’s hummingbirds
Both in the long duration and short term, there were no appreciable changes in Costa’s hummingbird numbers. Costa’s hummingbird trend evaluations have a fair amount of uncertainty, which could hinder the ability to spot a clear sign of population decline that is reflected throughout much of their range.
As you saw, many hummingbird species have a declining population. However, some of them have increased over the long term. In contrast, some of the hummingbird populations haven’t changed within a given timeframe.
Unfortunately, most of the constant and increasing populations show signs of decline in the future. So, it’s high time for everyone to become aware of their population, the reasons behind such mishaps, and environmental conditions.
What are the biggest threats to hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds are susceptible to many environmental conditions. Due to these reasons, hummingbirds’ populations are continuously declining. Let’s review the biggest threats to hummingbird populations in the upcoming section.
1. Habitat Loss
Numerous hummingbird species are under danger due to the expansion of urbanization, agriculture, deforestation, and development in tropical areas. Due to their little size and minimal territorial requirements, hummingbird species that are rare or endangered might suffer tragic consequences from even minor development.
In addition to killing the invasive insects (particularly on flower plants) that are a vital source of food for hummingbirds, pesticides and insecticides also have a much greater potential to harm smaller bird species like the hummers.
3. Poor Weather
Although the torpor condition can help these small birds conserve energy on cool nights, sudden cold weather can be lethal since it can be difficult to recover from intense cold, especially if food sources are limited. Food supplies can be destroyed by storms as well, making recovery even harder.
4. Invasive Plants
Invasive plants are frequently chosen for their decorative value in landscaping, but they can swiftly supplant native plants that produce the nectar that hummingbirds need to survive. These new plants, though frequently attractive, do not offer the nectar hummingbirds need since they are unknown to them.
Hummingbirds are seriously endangered by outdoor pets. Since hummingbirds frequent the same food sources frequently, a predator can set up a trap and kill a hummingbird with a single swipe of the paw.
How can we help increase the hummingbird population?
It’s never too late to help hummingbirds escape the endangered phase. Here are some of the ways through which you can help increase hummingbirds’ populations to a massive extent.
- Donate to the right organizations to aid with habitat protection.
- Reduce the use of pesticides in your garden and landscaping and, if necessary, opt for organic bug control techniques.
- To preserve hummingbirds and other backyard birds, keep cats indoors and take measures to deter feral cats from entering your yard.
- When designing your bird-friendly landscaping, choose native flowers to attract hummingbirds and take care of your plants to promote a healthy profusion of blossoms.
- Create a secure area in your yard for hummingbirds that are nesting so that young families can develop peacefully.
- Place hummingbird feeders in protected locations away from wind and rain and take precautions to prevent hummingbird nectar from freezing.
Hummingbirds have a massive role in our ecosystem. Thus, losing them to habitat loss and other factors will create an ecological imbalance. So, it’s high time to take necessary conservation steps and prevent hummingbirds from becoming endangered. If birds around us are thriving, we all can be happy.