Saving Bird Species From the Brink of Extinction

This episode is about bird species that we almost lost forever, but through conservation actions, we’ve kept them from disappearing.

October 9, 2023

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Saving Bird Species From the Brink of Extinction


Our topic today is the challenge of saving bird species that are very close to extinction. Species like the Spix’s Macaw, which have tiny global populations—whether in the wild, or in captivity.

Other familiar examples are the California Condor and the Whooping Crane, whose populations bottomed out at 22 and 23, respectively. Rigorous conservation programs have since given these two North American species a fighting chance at long-term survival.

This episode is about species that we almost lost forever, but with great effort we’ve kept them from disappearing.

Many of these species, like the California Condor, aren’t out of the woods yet. They may be in better shape now than they were a couple of decades ago, but they still need lots of help.

In this episode, we’re first going to look at some of the biggest challenges faced by conservationists as they try to save species on the brink.

Second, we’ll talk about the tools and methods used to save birds.

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Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus). Photo by Fabrice Bettex/Alamy.
Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii). Photo by dpa/Alamy.
Zino's Petrel (Pterodroma madeira). Photo by Christoph Moning/Wikimedia.
Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido). Photo by Gregory Smith/Flickr.
Lord Howe Rail (Gallirallus sylvestris). Photo by Toby Hudson/Wikimedia.


  • Mauritius Kestrel sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC155380)
  • Greater Prairie-Chicken sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC469176)
  • Lord Howe Rail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC324198)

This work by Ivan Phillipsen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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