We Can Save a Patch of Sky

The blue Cerulean Warbler (Denroica cerulea) is a little songbird who summers in the eastern and midwestern U.S. and parts of Canada, and winters in the Andes of South America. It is loved for its bright blue feathers and outstanding song that make it one of the most distinctive of our warblers.

It was once one of the most abundant warblers throughout the U.S., especially in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys. The striking blue feathers of the males make them hard to see in the tops of trees against the sky. They depend on large tracts of mature, native forest both here and in South America. But forests in both hemispheres are being destroyed wholesale and/or piecemeal.

Between 1966 and 1999 its population declined by 70% -- one of the most savage declines in bird species in the country. (Editors Note: This decline continues with little relief.)

Something Can Be Done

Lincoln, they say, once said that it is the role of government to do for the people, what they cannot do for themselves. This is that case. The Cerulean Warbler is critically in need of the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Twenty-eight regional and national conservation groups petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service in October of 2000 to list this bird as severely threatened throughout its range. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to process the petition, and protection for the Cerulean Warbler has halted.

According to biologists, without government action soon, the Cerulean Warbler will be extinct within 20 years. Environmental degradation destroys silently, yet we will all have to live in it. Can we afford to lose another patch of "sky"?

For Further Information, Contact: Endangered Species Coalition, 1101 14th St. N.W., #1400, Washington, D.C. 2005, or www.stopextinction.org, or tel. 202-682-9400.

Background courtesy Charles Phillips, Central States Region.

- November, 2001. Legal status unchanged January 23, 2004; still declining. (Editors Note Oct 2006: Status Unprotected.)


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