The Birds Are Falling: Avian losses could hit ecosystems hard

10:20am, December 15, 2004

If many bird populations dip toward extinction in the coming century, as scientists predict, widespread harm could come to ecosystems that depend on these birds to pollinate plants, disperse seeds, scavenge carrion, and control insects.

Using a team of students to comb through the literature, Cagan H. Sekercioglu, Gretchen Daily, and Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University filled a database with information on diet, habitat, range, and other traits of all the nearly 10,000 known living and extinct species of modern birds.

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