National Geographic : 1993 Jun
PAINTINGBY H. DOUGLASPRATT above-suggests that habitat disruption is an even greater culprit than toxics. Mea suringbird declines is a complex and imper fect art. But a recent survey ofa hundred migrant species confirms what avid bird watchers have been saying for years: Most of the nation's losses involve forest birds, mainly in the East duringthe past decade. 6 Northern oriole (Baltimore) ICTERUSGALBULAGALBULA This plumed dandy of the nation's backyards adapts well to human disruption in its nesting grounds. While the northern oriole is declining only slightly, the eastern sub species-the Baltimore ori ole - has dropped 27 percent in ten years. Little is known of its sojourn in Latin America. 7 Yellow-billed cuckoo COCCYZUSAMERICANUS Asharp kuk-kuk-kuk an nounces the yellow-billed cuckoo in woodlands across the U.S ., but it has grown increasingly rare in the East. This bird tolerates various breeding habitats, so its decline could be linked to predators or disturbance to its winter range in South America. 8 Cerulean warbler DENDROICACERULEA At risk in both its northern and southern ranges, this blue jacketed migrant requires large, mature forests for breeding and wintering. Its bottomland woods have been replaced by farms in the Mid west, while in the Andes, climax forests are under siege. Declines since the 1960s have been severe. 9 Summer tanager PIRANGARUBRA This fire-feathered tanager is plagued by cowbirds in the Midwest. Though found in a variety of breeding habitats, the bird winters in the tropical woodlands of Mexico and Central and South America regions undergoing extensive development. Populations have diminished 17 percent since 1980. 10 Whip-poor-will '. CAPRIMULGUS VOCIFERUS Famous for its namesake lyric, the whip-poor-will is a shy ground nester acutely vul nerable to predation when humans cut into its woodland strongholds. Though statistics show a long-term national de cline, reliable data are scarce because most bird surveys overlook nocturnal species.