Triage For Endangered Birds: Which Species Do We Save?

In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, a Savanna Hawk peers from inside its cage at a private zoo that is building an investigation center to breed Venezuela's endangered red siskin bird in Turmero, Venezuela. The threat of the red siskin disappearing has brought together an international team including scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and poor coffee farmers in Venezuela's remote mountains, all set on rescuing it from extinction.
In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, a Savanna Hawk peers from inside its cage at a private zoo that is building an investigation center to breed Venezuela's endangered red siskin bird in Turmero, Venezuela. The threat of the red siskin disappearing has brought together an international team including scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and poor coffee farmers in Venezuela's remote mountains, all set on rescuing it from extinction. Fernando Llano / AP Photo
In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, a Savanna Hawk peers from inside its cage at a private zoo that is building an investigation center to breed Venezuela's endangered red siskin bird in Turmero, Venezuela. The threat of the red siskin disappearing has brought together an international team including scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and poor coffee farmers in Venezuela's remote mountains, all set on rescuing it from extinction.
In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, a Savanna Hawk peers from inside its cage at a private zoo that is building an investigation center to breed Venezuela's endangered red siskin bird in Turmero, Venezuela. The threat of the red siskin disappearing has brought together an international team including scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and poor coffee farmers in Venezuela's remote mountains, all set on rescuing it from extinction. Fernando Llano / AP Photo

Triage For Endangered Birds: Which Species Do We Save?

Scientists agree that the planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction event, though rather than a comet or asteroid, the culprit is environmental degradation caused by human industrial activity. Though conservationists have been able to save some species from extinction, often by breeding small populations in protected habitats, the resources don’t exist to do that for every disappearing species. “By some estimates, we may have lost almost half the songbirds that filled the skies almost 40 years ago,” according to Bridget Stutchbury, professor of biology at York University in Toronto. Stutchbury is in Chicago for a Thursday talk at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum entitled “Triage for Endangered Birds: Which Species Do We Save?” She joins us today to chat about what we should for birds on the brink of extinction.