Prairie birds

Eastern meadowlark numbers have dropped a whopping 89 percent between 1966 and 2015

For generations of Missouri farmers, an enjoyable sign that spring was transitioning into summer was the crisp, clear call of a meadowlark perched on a nearby fencepost. However, that call is becoming alarmingly less common throughout the region. Many people are familiar with the decrease of the greater prairie-chicken throughout much of the central U.S. and most have also heard about the steadily worsening quail situation for the same area. However, unless you’re a birding enthusiast, you’re likely unaware of the downward spiral of eastern meadowlark numbers.

Greater prairie chickens cannot persist in Illinois without help, researchers report

The greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) once dominated the American Midwest, but today the bird is in trouble in many parts of its historic range. It is no longer found in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas or Wyoming, states where it once flourished. And in Illinois, an estimated 186 birds remain in two adjoining counties in the southern part of the state. "They used to be all over the state," said Illinois Natural History Survey conservation biologist Mark Davis, who participated in a genetic analysis of the Illinois birds.

Black-Billed Magpie Decline in Nebraska

Many birders and bird-watchers in western and central Nebraska have noticed the unfortunate absence in recent years of a distinctive, entertaining and familiar bird species, the black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia). In the late 1990s, black-billed magpies were found over most of the state, except the extreme east and southeast. They occurred as far east as western Lancaster and Saunders counties during that time. In other areas, especially the west, magpies were fairly common and could be reliably seen with little effort. Since about 2000, black-billed magpies have declined sharply.

Veel broedvogels van de toendra gaan achteruit

Van de 263 onderzochte vogelsoorten die Nederland aandoen als doortrekker of wintergast zijn er 39 op de nieuwe ‘Rode Lijst’ van bedreigde vogels terecht gekomen en negen op de oranje lijst. De oranje lijst is een lijst van vogels die de afgelopen tien jaar constant in aantal zijn afgenomen en dus ook in de gevarenzone dreigen te komen. Van de wintergasten en doortrekkers die in ons land achteruit zijn gegaan, broeden er zo’n dertien op de toendra.

Drastic Declines in Brown Shrike and Yellow-Breasted Bunting at the Lake Utonai Bird Sanctuary, Hokkaido

Daily records of bird observations were obtained from the Wild Bird Society of Japan bird sanctuary at Lake Utonai, Hokkaido, from 1982 to 2002. We analysed the daily records of four species thought to be experiencing declines: Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus, Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps, Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata and Yellow-breasted Bunting E. aureola.

Agricultural intensification caused steep population decline of the Great Bustard in Iran

The current distribution and recent population trends of the Great Bustard ( Otis tarda ) in Iran were investigated based on a literature review and unpublished data (1995–2008) followed by three years of census (2009–2011) in areas where the species is still breeding. Results suggest that Great Bustards have disappeared from a large part of their former distribution in the country, including East Azarbayjan, Hamedan and Kurdistan provinces. The surviving groups are concentrated in West Azarbayjan where numbers are rapidly declining.

Imidacloprid impairs sexual behavior and secondary sexual characters in red munia

The exposure effects of two endocrine disrupting pesticides (EDPs), mancozeb/MCZ and imidacloprid/IMI of the group dithiocarbamate and neonicotinoid respectively, on reproductive behaviors and secondary sexual characters have been studied in a seasonally breeding wildlife bird, red munia (Amandava amandava). Adult male birds were exposed to both the pesticides individually (0.25% LD50 of each) as well as co-exposed (MIX-I: 0.25% LD50 of each and MIX-II: 0.5% LD50 of each) through food for 30 d in preparatory (July–August) and breeding (September–October) phase of reproductive cycle.

Burrowing owl population sees decline in Berkeley area

Fewer burrowing owls are returning to the Berkeley area as their population continues to dwindle, not only in California but across North America. Burrowing owls are small birds that live in burrows created by other animals. As a result of habitat loss in recent years, the California population of burrowing owls has declined, according to Scott Artis, the executive director of the Urban Bird Foundation. We’re going to wake up one day and see that we don’t have burrowing owls anymore,” he said. “(The cause is) really this loss of habitat.

Canadian Prairies are disappearing faster than the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef

A group of conservationists says it’s time to act to save the Canadian Prairies, which they say are disappearing off the face of the Earth faster than the Amazon rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Nature Conservancy Canada says more than 70 per cent of Canada’s prairie grasslands have been converted for other uses such as agriculture and industry. By comparison, just 20 per cent of the Amazon has been converted for other uses. The environmental group says some of the world’s most significant remaining grasslands are in Canada, but could soon disappear unless more is done to save them.

Current population of the Oregon Vesper Sparrow is fewer than 3,000 birds

American Bird Conservancy has petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Oregon Vesper Sparrow as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In a letter sent to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, ABC describes this subspecies of the Vesper Sparrow as highly imperiled and threatened with extinction throughout its range. The petition makes the case that the species warrants listing because it lacks adequate protection under existing regulatory mechanisms. Without ESA listing, the sparrows’ future looks grim.