Grassland bird numbers are falling

The declines are steeper than in any other bird type

Grassland bird populations continue to decline faster than any other type of bird. Some species have declined more than 75% as habitat is lost due to agriculture and the encroachment of trees.

“Birds are the canary in the coal mine,” Amanda Rodewald, senior director of the Center for Avian Population Studies at Cornell University’s ornithology lab, told the Associated Press. “They’re an early warning of environmental changes that also can affect us.”

A 2019 study found grassland bird populations had fallen 53% since 1970. Last year’s State of the Birds report found two-thirds had experienced significant declines, including several that could be at risk of extinction.

Read more from the Associated Press.

Header Image: A western meadowlark at LaCreek National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS