|Waterfowl habitat work is paying off, but birds need help|
A bird’s eye view perspective is something that humans can grasp only when viewing objects from an elevated position. Avian life utilizes a bird’s eye view every day to discern where they might like to fly down to for food, water or rest. How ground habitat looks to a bird is likely to affect their decision about visiting a place, or whether to just keep on flying. Recent studies have documented a sharp decline in songbirds, and a moderate increase in waterfowl populations, and a focus on duck habitat conservation could be the blueprint to help songbird recovery.
The increase in waterfowl populations is a bit deceiving as it concerns the Atlantic Flyway, since the bag limit on mallards and pintails decreased in 2019. The conservation group Ducks Unlimited (DU) was founded with the mission to conserve wetlands to ensure healthy waterfowl populations. DU understands that pothole nesting habitat in Canada was just as important as habitat in North America and works on either side of the border for the betterment of the ducks. Establishing that habitat took decades and since the 1970’s waterfowl populations have begun to rebound and are up 56-percent. It is possible that this current formula for success will continue in the future too.
Common birds such as the red-winged blackbird and the Eastern meadowlark are indicator species, and recent studies show they are in drastic decline. Ornithologists estimate that nearly 3 billion birds have vanished from North America over the past 50 years. Once seemingly staggering numbers of common birds is now thought to be in trouble, and the most likely trigger for this is loss of habitat. Grassland birds, birds of the forest, and those that prefer scrub shrub habitat are all in decline across the spectrum. With higher human populations comes more development, which decreases the open space available to common birds.
To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.
To view past blog entries on avian conservation click 2018 Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary - 2017 Kiawah Shorebird Symposium - 2016 Spring Shorebird Synergy - 2015 Manomet Shorebirds at Yawkey Center - 2015 Little St. Simon's Island - 2014 South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative - 2014 DU / NAWCA at Bear Island - 2014 Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers in ACE Basin - 2013 Cornell Ornithology Lab - 2012 International Crane Foundation - 2011 Mottled Duck Study - 2011 Center for Birds of Prey - 2009 Bear Island Birdwatching - 2005 DU TV in Oklahoma