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Website of the Week — State of the Birds


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

This week it's a report on the status of birds in America, and what that says about our environment.

"The State of the Birds website is a place where anyone can go to find out how birds are faring in the United States based on the first comprehensive analysis of data in the last 40 years," says Miyoko Chu.

Chu is communications director at Cornell University's Ornithology Lab, which hosts the site StateOfTheBirds.org.

The site focuses on the 800 bird species found in the United States, but Chu says the challenges they face are similar to those faced by birds everywhere.

"So the challenges that you'll see on the website are the same types of challenges that affect birds wherever they go: development, such as urban development, climate change. These are challenges that birds are facing in just about every place around the world."

The State of the Birds is the result of a collaboration of several government agencies and private conservation groups.

The site reports on threatened bird species, but also on success stories of birds that are no longer considered endangered.

"Birds are actually a great indicator of the larger state of the environment,." says Chu. "So the trends that we see for birds are often early warnings of how well our environments are doing. And by paying attention to that information, we can avoid environmental catastrophes that affect not only birds, but wildlife and people."

Scientists are already at work on an update of the site, due next year, to focus on the impact of climate change on birds.

Fly on over to StateOfTheBirds.org, or visit our site, VOANews.com, for the link to this and more than 250 other Websites of the Week.

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