Three Rivers Parks Says Bird Decline Visible Here Too
Bird watchers don’t have quite as much to see these days. The bird population has declined roughly 30 percent the last 25 years. According to some experts, the U.S. bird population has shrunk to six billion – that’s approximately three billion fewer birds than we had in the 1970’s.
“It’s mainly been due to habitat loss through agriculture, intensive forestry and some urbanization,” said Three Rivers Park District‘s John Moriarty. Farming is the main culprit. Agriculture has chewed up habitat and drained wetlands, which is bad news for birds.
“There is a point where they can’t recover,” Moriarty said. “So it is important to be aware of it and try to keep this from declining anymore.” Colliding with skyscrapers, glass sports venues, windows and other reflective objects has taken a toll too.
But Moriarty says cats have also been a problem.
“Free roaming cats have a bigger impact on bird loss than buildings,” Moriarty said.
Some bird populations increasing
The Mississippi flyway is like a major interstate for birds and water fowl. The river is a natural guide as they flap their way south. However, in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, there aren’t as many flying by as there used to be.
“A lot of the birds using the flyway are migratory birds,” Moriarty said. “So the number of birds that you see coming through are the ones that their numbers have gone down. Probably more than some of the resident birds.”
Despite the overall decline, some birds are thriving, like Canadian geese, wild turkeys and bald eagles.
“When I moved to the Cities 25, 30 years ago, seeing a bald eagle was an event,” Moriarty said. “You never saw them. Now my estimate would be 75 to 100 nests in the Twin Cities area.”
There are a few things you can do to stop the bird population decline. Cut back on single-use plastics. Plant native plants and trees in your yard, and put stickers on windows so our winged friends don’t crash into the glass. And whether your feline friends like it or not, keep those cats inside the house where they can’t get to the birds.