Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Citizen's Guide: Guidelines For Protecting Migratory Bird Habitat [I'd Love to Save the World]

OK, we're through the introduction of the Citizen's Guide; now we get to the action items. Following this introduction to the importance of habitat we will, in upcoming posts, learn how to protect migratory bird habitat in our backyards, on grasslands, in forested areas, on farmlands, and how to plan for conservation-oriented land-use.

The Citizen's Guide to Migratory Bird Conservation
Guidelines for Protecting Migratory Bird Habitat

To survive, birds need habitat. Exactly what type and how much depends on each species' food preferences, foraging strategies, and nest site requirements. Some kinds of birds do fine in suburban and even urban areas. But species whose habitat requirements are specific -- in particular, birds that require large tracts of woodland or grassland - are having more difficulty. For example, the Swainson's Warbler, a bird of southeastern bottomland hardwood forests, requires about 25 acres of habitat per breeding pair. And a single pair usually will not nest unless other pairs inhabit the area, too. Maintaining a viable population of these birds requires a forested tract of perhaps 5,000 acres.

For species with specific habitat requirements, we must maintain suitable habitat in the face of human activity. And the challenge is heightened by the fact that unlike humans, birds do not pay attention to land ownership. Because their habitats cross legal boundaries, habitat protection plans must too.

Is protecting habitat for migratory birds a realistic goal for the 21st century? You bet! Many amateur birders, conservationists, agency personnel, and private landowners support conservation of bird populations and their habitats before species reach critically low levels -- at which point intervention becomes expensive and controversial. Maintaining habitat can and does occur on the local, state, regional, national, and even international levels.

To be successful, habitat maintenance should follow several guiding principles. These can be applied to conservation of breeding range, wintering grounds, and migratory corridors. All land managers, public and private, should find these principles helpful in guiding their thinking about how to enhance habitat.

As you go about your migratory bird conservation projects -- whether in your own backyard or in a wider community - review these principles from time to time. They will help keep your project on track.

Peter Dunne, Richard Kane, and Paul Kerlinger, New Jersey Audubon Society,
P.O. Box 693, Bernardsville, NJ 07294

This section has been excerpted in its entirety. Author information and article text current as of 1995.

Dunne, P., R. Kane, and P. Kerlinger. 1995. Citizen's Guide to Migratory Bird Conservation, Bonney, R., S. Carlson, and M. Fischer, eds. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

As always, your thoughts and suggestions welcome and encouraged.



Kim Hosey said...

This is some great information! I'm so glad I found your blog. Now, to go back and read it in order.

noflickster said...

Hi Kim,

Glad you found it, and are finding it useful. From my end: "Now, to go back and make the presentation more elegant (easy to navigate)."

Shhh: I'm working on a new blog site that I hope to have up and running later this month where the Citizen's Guide will be more accessible and easy to navigate. I'll announce that here when it actually happens!

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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