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Energy & Environment

Wisconsin Bird Conservation Plan Focuses On Preservation

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Wikimedia Commons Andrew C
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A coalition of 180 Wisconsin organizations dedicated to conserving birds is celebrating 15 years of accomplishments, unveiling a new strategic plan to guide the next five years. They're also researching declining populations of purple martins, chimney swifts, whip-poor-wills, and other insect-eating birds.

One of the collaborators is the DNR. Bird expert Craig Thompson says they hope citizens in and near important bird populations will come forward to help preserving state bird populations.

The effort is called the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, and the collaborators have put together a new strategic plan to be responsive to the needs of birds. Thompson says one factor is key...

"...Loss of habitat is the primary driver that is impacting bird populations.40 pecent of all species are experiencing population declines in Wisconsin were faring a wee bit better. But of the more than 300 species that are here regularly in the state a tad more than 20 percent of them are in deline and that is where we are focusing our efforts...."

Thompson says while the focus has been on population losses, there have been successes as well....

"...Bald eagles are doing extremely well, Peregrine falcons have made a strong comeback, Kirtland warblers numbers continue to go up. Trumpeter swans have made a tremendous recovery and of course there's an on-going Whooping Crane effort. There are positive things that have happened in the bird conservation world both in Wisconsin and nationally. We also know there are other species that have significant challenges...."

Among identified goals is finding funding to hire a coordinator, finishing the most recent Bird Atlas, continuing citizen-based surveys, identifying gaps in monitoring and to put together conferences.

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