Metroparks Meetup: Declining bird populations
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Every year, thousands of birders flock to northwest Ohio with their binoculars in hand. But soon, experts say there may be fewer species for them to spot.
“Just think about how silent the landscape would be without bird song,” said Conservationist Jay Wright. “That is a huge loss.”
That’s just one thought that Wright says crosses his mind often as grassland bird species, such as sparrows, become fewer and fewer.
“Grassland birds have declined more than any other group of birds in North America,” said Wright. “Over the past 50 years, we’ve seen a greater than 50% decline in grassland bird populations.”
So, what is causing such a sharp decline?
“Habitat loss, especially from agricultural conversion, the intensification of agricultural practices and more toxic pesticide use, that’s killing a lot of pollinators and insects that grassland birds feed on,” said Wright.
But, Metroparks Toledo is fighting back by creating habitats for those struggling species in places like Cannonball Prairie Metropark.
“Cannonball Prairie was previously farmland. Metroparks purchased it and started converting it into a grassland in 2018 and 2019,” said Wright. “Immediately grassland birds started colonizing and breeding here, so that was a really big success for us.”
Wright says everyone can pitch in to help save the birds by including native plants in their landscaping.
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