Oct 23, 2023 - News

Bird once found in Carolinas declared extinct

Illustration of vanishing bird.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Bachman's warbler has tweeted its last song.

Driving the news: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared 21 species extinct this month, including the Bachman's warbler, a migratory songbird that once had its breeding grounds in the Carolinas.

Why it matters: The new additions to the list of 650 extinct U.S. species underscores both the heroic and catastrophic impacts humans can have on the natural world.

  • The agency says that the Endangered Species Act, now 50 years old, has saved more than 99% of listed threatened species.
  • On the other hand, human-driven "habitat loss, overuse and introduction of invasive species and diseases" are often the driver of extinctions.

Context: Most of the newly-declared extinct species had been listed under the Endangered Species Act for several decades, and it's possible some have been extinct for quite some time.

The intrigue: The FWS also proposed declaring the ivory-billed woodpecker, whose habitat ranged into North Carolina, extinct, but now says it won't give up on the species.

  • The last "commonly agreed upon sighting" of the woodpecker was nearly 80 years ago in Louisiana, according to the agency.
  • But some experts and birdwatchers insist they've seen the species in more recent years and have submitted grainy photos and videos they believe to be proof to the FWS for review, the Washington Post reports.
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