Well, if they are government drones, we're all doomed.
Researchers have estimated the Earth's individual bird population to be about 50 billion, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. That's roughly one human for every six birds, CNET reports. Per National Geographic, the study is "the first attempt to estimate the world population of birds, species by species."
Since birds are flighty creatures (pun intended) by nature, researchers, of course, weren't able to count them individually. Instead, scientists used a combination of computer algorithms and "citizen-scientist" observations from bird watching database eBird to arrive at their monumental number.
You may be asking yourself, "Why now?" or just, "Why?" The answer is simple: "For the fields of ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation, abundance estimates of organisms are essential," write the study's authors. "The distribution of species abundances is fundamental to numerous longstanding questions in ecology."
Although the researchers make sure to qualify their results as estimates (the census focused on only about 92 percent of "all living bird species"), their findings do "represent the best-available data" at the moment, per CNET.
Now, there's only one question left to ask — did or did they not accurately count Martha Stewart's peacocks?