THEGREENGROK    Statistically Speaking

Statistically Speaking: Quoth the Raven

by Bill Chameides | June 25th, 2009
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

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Rufous hummingbirds, pictured here, are thought to be critical pollinators in western North America. The reason for this is that they migrate from Alaska to Mexico, pollinating plants all along the long route. (Photo: Jeffrey Pippen)

In 1921, American ornithologist Edward Forbush wrote that thanks to birds, “forest and agricultural pests were reduced by 28 percent.” The birds, he went on, helped prevent “$444,000,000 in crop and timber losses.” Let’s take a look at some birds stats today.

Percent of staple crops around the world that rely on pollination: over 75

Number of pollinator bird species worldwide: 2,000

Number of parrots sold legally worldwide in 2000: 518,577

Percent of U.S. bird species at risk: about 25

Percent decline in 10 common species (representing more than 70 percent of U.S. bird populations) over last four decades: 60 or more

Number of birds kept in the United States as pets (2007): 16 million

Number of chickens killed in the United States each year: 9 billion

Geese on the Hudson River, June 25, 2009. (Photo: Erica Rowell)

Number of geese killed in New York City since June 11 to protect jets taking off from local airports: 800

Number of geese killed nationwide in the United States in 2008 by wildlife control programs: about 14,000

Movie foretelling avian revenge: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963)

Percentage of syllables in Hitchcock’s name that are avian-related: 50

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