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Posted on August 22nd, 2022 in Alert, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

The precipitous decline in songbird numbers over the past few decades has made national news and generated calls for action to address the issues contributing to this decline. One of the contributing factors to the decline of several North American bird species is the diminishing area of suitable habitat.

banner of birdsThe initial assumption that many people have is this loss of habitat is forests or grasslands being converted into cropland or developments. While this does happen and is a concern in some areas, Indiana has actually been increasing our area of forest over the last several decades. An increasingly common habitat threat to several bird species is changing grassland or forest structure that occur through time in the absence of historic disturbances like fires or land management activities like thinning and harvesting.

The invasion of forests, wetlands, and grasslands by invasive plant species can also degrade or destroy habitat values for birds and other wildlife. Managing areas to reduce invasive species and introducing disturbances like prescribed fires, critical area plantings, thinning, and regeneration activities can improve habitat quality for a variety of declining birds.

The The Nature Conservancy in Indiana, partnering with birders, ornithologists, foresters, and wildlife biologists, has developed the Forestry for the Birds program, modeled from a similar program in Vermont.  The goal is to provide strategies that can benefit both forest management and bird communities, facilitating and simplifying the management of bird-friendly forests. “The Birders Dozen” were selected among declining birds that Indiana residents could identify by sight or song and need conservation action through habitat management.

Learn more about Forestry for the Birds, the Birders Dozen, and what you can do to help declining birds and other wildlife in Indiana. Find the Forestry for the Birds Pocket Guide which is a free download.

Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
The Birders’ Dozen, Profile: Baltimore Oriole, Indiana Woodland Steward
Ask An Expert, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube channel
It’s For the Birds, Indiana Yard and Garden-Purdue Consumer Horticulture
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
No Room at the Inn: Suburban Backyards and Migratory Birds, Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store
Subscribe, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Jessica Outcalt, Agricultural & Natural Resources Educator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Purdue Extension

The Nature Conservancy – Indiana

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