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Conservationists fight declines in bird populations

pixabay.com Oldiefan

Conservationists are fighting the loss of some of our favorite backyard visitors.

This as the New York Times reports North America has lost 3 billion birds since 1970.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates roughly 225 species of birds make their nests in Wisconsin, and one expert says about a third of those are on the decline.

The impact is being felt across the board, from the forest to the grasslands. Experts blame much of it on people.

"Agriculture or development, or a growing human population or resource extraction," said Ryan Brady, a conservation biologist with the DNR. "Whatever it might be, habitat loss is the number one driver."

Brady says the loss of any species of bird can have devastating consequences.

"Certain species that are maybe more keystone species that are integral to that whole ecosystem functioning, if those are lost then things can crumble rather rapidly," he said.

Mark Naniot, the director of rehabilitation at Wild Instincts, says there are things we can do every day to help slow the losses and restore habitats of Wisconsin birds.

"Biggest thing is learn more about these pesticides and weed killers, different things that we're doing, making the environment a little more safe for the birds to start out with," he said.

Another big thing: planting native plants in your yard. Consider giving up some yard space as a habitat for birds.

"If you want to really have a bird feeder, you want native plants," Brady said. "And that's going to attract many dozens of species of birds to your property."

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