About this Collection

This library collection contains information, resources and documents about the work the Service is doing for aerial insectivores as part of our Bring Birds Back movement.

Among the dramatic declines observed in birds, aerial insectivores have shown the highest percentage of species in decline of any taxonomic group: 73% of species are in decline, representing a loss of 156.8 million birds. Aerial Insectivores are a guild of land birds grouped by their foraging behavior of primarily capturing insect prey in flight. Including species of swifts, swallows, martins, nightjars, and flycatchers, they play an important role in ecosystems and can help reduce pest insect populations in agricultural and urban areas.

Threats

Global change factors such as climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
and urbanization, and conversion of natural habitats to agriculture occurring on the wintering grounds, migratory stopover sites, and breeding grounds have all been implicated in potentially contributing to the declines of aerial insectivore species and the insect populations they depend on. This makes successful conservation efforts for these species a daunting challenge requiring interdisciplinary and international collaboration among scientists, policymakers, and the public.

What is FWS Doing?

We are working to fill critical information gaps in collaboration with researchers and multiple federal and state government and non-government agencies. Our goal is to determine population-limiting factors that will allow us to target conservation efforts aimed at the following:

  1. Conserving vital habitat for aerial insectivores to promote successful breeding, overwintering, and migration.

  2. Determine the effects of pesticides (e.g., neonicotinoids) on birds and mitigation strategies.

  3. Provide practical guidance to the public to promote reduced use of chemicals and planting native plant species to help conserve insect populations and biodiversity.

 

How You Can Help

  • Plant more oak trees! Oaks support a greater diversity of insects than any other tree in general.
  • Reduce Pesticides: Support small-scale organic farms, join a local CSA, or grow your own organic veggies at home!
  • Mow less in summer and skip the raking in fall, the insects (and birds) in your yard will thank you!
  • Spread the Word and help educate others on the importance of insects in our ecosystems and food webs.