Invasive Species

Burmese python
Invasive python invades the Everglades

Stop the Alien Attack

Imagine aliens -- taking the shape of a seemingly harmless plant or small animal -- coming into your community and taking over. They no longer face threats from their natural enemies, so they thrive -- ravaging native plants, birds and other wildlife, significantly altering the ecosystem. These aliens aren't from outer space -- they're Earth-born and bred, and they're infesting more than 100 million acres of American landscape.

These aliens plants and animals find their way -- via man, by animals, even by the wind -- in a new place far from where they originated. Some of these aliens don't make much of an impact but others land in areas where they invade, thrive and completely take over, as they have no competitors, no predators, and nothing to stop them. These species are referred to as "invasive species."

Examples include a nonnative fish called the northern snakehead, which threatens to ruin the ecological balance of the entire Chesapeake Bay. Burmese pythons, released by pet owners in southern Florida, have thrived in the lush environment of the Everglades and now are a major invasive threat to the native species there. Another is the South American rodent called nutria, which found itself in the middle of the marsh in coastal Maryland, and is eating its way out. Phragmites (frag-my-tees) is a common reed that out-competes with native plants that are unusable as nesting and feeding sites for many bird species. These and other invasive species are wiping pose a major threat to America's most imperiled bird populations: more than 1/3 of the birds on Audubon's WatchList are threatened by invasive species.

Federal Legislation Needed

Audubon is working with Congress to develop and pass legislation that will curb the invasive threat. Since most wildlife refuges have been designated by Audubon as Important Bird Areas, we are working with Members of Congress to address invasive threats on Refuges as well as other sensitive environments to help protect some of America's best bird habitat from one of their most severe threats.