Birds are important indicators of the overall health of our environment. Like the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, they send an urgent warning about threats to our water, air, natural resources, climate and more. Audubon's State of the Birds reports provide a picture of how the continental U.S.' birds – both common and rare – are faring. View the 2007 Audubon Watchlist.
Our knowledge of the health and status of Pennsylvania's bird populations is still incomplete. Bird counts collected by volunteers through the Breeding Bird Survey since 1966 provide some information on status and trends. In short, these data indicate that almost all grassland and wetland-dependent bird species are declining in Pennsylvania.
In contrast, the status of forest-dependent species is mixed, with about half declining and the other half stable or increasing. Birds faring the best are the so-called "edge specialists"-species that do best where forest and more open habitats come together. Loss of habitat is the primary threat to bird species; residential/commercial "sprawl" development, roads, towers, power lines, and turbines, are some of the most important factors causing this habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. A total of 32 species are currently on the state's threatened, endangered and species of special concern lists.