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State of the Birds Report

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Aerial Insectivores

Common Nighthawk by Gerrit

Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, and Bank Swallow are three very different bird species, but they all eat flying insects—and they’re all declining rapidly.

They are also all members of bird families (nighthawks and nightjars, swifts, and swallows) that are broadly declining. Bank Swallow is just one of six swallow species declining across major portions of its range.

Aerial insectivores are extremely sensitive to environmental change. The increased effectiveness and use of agricultural insecticides such as synthetic neonicotinoids has greatly reduced their prey base of flying insects.

Neonicotinoids are also suspected in declines of native pollinators. Decreasing pesticide use, in agriculture and around the home, will benefit bees and butterflies as well as aerial insectivores.



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