Bird Populations Dropping
North America has lost nearly 30% of its breeding bird population since 1970, according to a study published in the Journal Science on September 19, 2019. The study analyzed data from bird surveys from 1970 to 2017 for 529 species and found the following declines of breeding birds: Boreal Forest Birds (-33%), Eastern Forest Birds (-17%), Grassland Birds (-53%), Aerial Insectivores (-32%), and Migratory Birds (-28%). In all, North America has lost an estimated 3 billion breeding birds over this time.

The study also indicates a 14% drop in just the last ten years of the density of birds making spring migration, as measured through next generation weather radar (NEXRAD) data which can show the location, direction and speed of birds during migration. This study is another reason why Congress should act quickly to pass the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. The Act will provide nearly $1.4 billion in existing funds to states to support their wildlife conservation strategies, such as habitat maintenance and restoration.

With citizen engagement and funding to support habitat protection and restoration, we can reverse dire situations. For example, the same study showing the loss of 30% (3 billion) breeding birds over 48 years, also showed a 56% increase in waterfowl populations. This success is credited to many factors including the commitment of hunting organizations and federal legislation such as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act that helped support wetland protection and restoration across the country.

The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide increased funding to the states for wildlife conservation efforts including habitat for all wildlife species that are in serious decline such as the birds covered by the above study.

Introduced as H.R. 4647 in December 2017, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has 116 cosponsors, including U.S. Representative Mark Pocan from Wisconsin’s 2 nd Congressional District. You can find and email your federal representative to ask them to pass HR 4647 by entering your zip code on the United States House of Representatives Page.
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation has joined other conservation groups in contributing to the reward for the arrest and conviction of the person who illegally shot a bull elk in Sawyer County. The Department of Natural Resources and Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the September 14th poaching and asking the public for any information to help solve this crime.
The DNR has confirmed in a press release that five deer have died from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in Crawford and Richland counties. DNR officials suspect more deer have died of EHD than have been confirmed. According to health specialists, EHD does not infect humans and people are not at risk when handling or eating venison from infected deer.
The mission of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is to conserve Wisconsin's wildlife, natural resources and outdoor sporting heritage through conservation education and advocating for strong conservation policies on state and national levels.

 


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