The Changing Bird Populations at the Bufferlands


We’re sometimes asked about changes we’ve noticed over the years. We have records going back over 30 years, Christmas Bird Count data for 26 years, and many additional monitoring projects. Thirty years is a relatively short time, but long enough to notice significant changes, both in bird distribution and the habitat they depend on. There are as many examples of surprising resilience and increasing populations as there are of declines. Why are geese so much more numerous, Swainson’s Hawks holding their own, Say’s Phoebes and Western Bluebirds breeding where they hadn’t before? At the same time, Burrowing Owls and Loggerhead Shrikes are much harder to find. There have been impressive restoration efforts, habitat loss in the region, and even changes in average winter temperatures. Bird populations reflect these changes, sometimes in surprising ways.

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