The Evening Grosbeak is featured on the cover of the 2016 PIF Landbird Conservation Plan, as it has the dubious honor of experiencing the steepest population decline (92% since 1970) of all landbirds in the continental U.S. and Canada. Formerly a favorite at winter feeders, this nomadic species has all but disappeared in the Appalachian Mountains and has suffered heavy declines elsewhere.
Lack of information may be one of the greatest threats to improving conditions for this difficult-to-study species. While it is often found in large feeding flocks, the Evening Grosbeak’s secretive nesting behavior has resulted in surprisingly little demographic or ecological data. Given its steady decline, a focus on understanding its irruptive behavior in the eastern portion of its range, and what is driving population trends would be extremely useful for developing conservation strategies to help this species recover.
Primary Habitats:Breeding: Boreal Forest - temperate western forest, Mexican pine oak
Wintering: Forest generalist
Changing Forest Conditions
Population Loss Since 1970: 92%
Urgency/Half Life: 38 years
Global Conservation Status: IUCN 2016-3 Red List – Least Concern
U.S. Conservation Status: N/A
Canadian Conservation Status: Special Concern (COSEWIC 2016)
Birds of Conservation Concern: N/A
|Region||Area Importance||Long-term Population Change||Half Life|
|Canadian Southern Shield and Maritimes Region
|Canadian Eastern Boreal Region||12%, AI = 4||-93%||11 years|
|Canadian Intermountain Joint Venture||12%||-71%||16* years|
|Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture||9%||-68%||29* years|
|Western Boreal Joint Venture||7%, AI = 5||-77%||11 years|
|Atlantic Coast Joint Venture||5%||-92%||5* years|
|Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Region Joint Venture||5%||-92%||11* years|
* indicates a confidence interval of >40 years around the half-life estimate.
- Improved understanding of species’ basic ecology as well as population drivers
Species Conservation Plans:
Key Species References:
Peer Reviewed Papers:
- Ralston et al. 2015. Analysis of combined data sets yields trend estimates for vulnerable spruce-fir birds in northern United States.
- Siegel et al. 2014. Vulnerability of birds to climate change in California’s Sierra Nevada.
- Kirk et al. 2012. Avian assemblages differ between old-growth and mature white pine forests of Ontario, Canada: a role for supercanopy trees?
- Bonter and Harvey 2008. Winter survey data reveal widespread decline in Evening Grosbeak populations
Birds of North America (BNA) Species Account