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ISSUE 116 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/8/2002

Bird 'watching'

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 8, 2002

Species of birds including prairie, grassland and songbirds that migrate to Minnesota are in danger according to the Audubon Society. The society studies such species during their migration and reports their findings every few years. This year, the society reports that over two dozen species of birds are declining in number in Minn. and also in the Midwestern states. Endangered birds include warblers, the black duck, the woodcock, the redheaded woodpecker, the short-eared owl and certain species of sparrows, flycatchers and prairie chickens. Thousands of volunteers from the Audubon Society work to count the bird species listed on their national watch list. Each year, they count 201 of the 800 species of birds that live or migrate through the United States. The population estimates are combined with two other groups that also study bird populations both nationally and globally. The watch list serves as a way for people to be aware of endangered species, in hopes that in being conscious, people can work together to prevent them from becoming extinct. According to, the watch list educates people about the birds of conservation concern in the United States, suggests ways that people can help to increase populations of watch list species, focus resources of government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations toward solutions that increase populations of watch list species, and engage people in monitoring changes in these populations through citizen-science projects including Great Backyard Bird Count, Christmas Bird Count, eBird, and AIM Teams. Several reasons exist for the declining numbers including a change in habitat. Winter habitat in Mexico and Central and South America has changed, while conditions in the north including urban sprawl and development in both rural and urban areas are cited causes for the decline in over two dozen species of birds. Frank Gill, the director of science for the National Audubon Society, said in a Star Tribune article, Over and over again, grasslands are being converted to agriculture that's not suitable for these birds, and forests are being changed in character as they are being cut more frequently. Many of the birds that are under watch are labeled in color categories according to the seriousness of their condition. According to the Audubon Society nine of the species are labeled as red. This population has a limited range, and possibly faces other threats and could soon be on governmental endangered species lists. The society labels 19 species as yellow, which means their populations has decreased significantly during the past decade.

– Information gathered from

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