Posted by: aboutbirds | September 25, 2009

Plight in the Aridlands

I’m going to do a short series about the state of the birds, this information is borrowed from the State of the Birds Report for 2009. Today’s discussion is about the birds of the Aridlands. The aridlands are the major deserts of North America, such as the Mojave and Sonoran Desert. They are characterized by low annual rainfall. Pretty much dry, desert-like areas with lots of scrub.

The Facts:

  • More than 80 nesting species, many very unique to the area
  • More than 3/4 of the species are declining in the aridlands
  • Habitat loss, habitat degradation, invasive species and climate change all contribute to the decline of species
  • 39% are of conservation concern
  • 10 species are listed as endangered or threatened
  • There has been steady decline of 17 of the 30 obligate species over the past 40 years

The Birds in Trouble:

  • Endangered
    • California Condor
    • (Northern) Aplomado Falcon
    • (San Clemente) Loggerhead Shrike
    • (Least) Bell’s Vireo
    • Black-capped Vireo
    • Golden-cheeked Warbler
  • Threatened
    • (Western) Snowy Plover
    • (Coastal) California Gnatcatcher
    • (Inyo) California Towhee
    • (San Clemente) Sage Sparrow

The Major Threats:

  • Development and Energy – such as unplanned development, energy development and exploration, extreme urban and suburban areas are of greatest concern
  • Agriculture and Invasive Species
  • Climate Change – yes it is real

There is Hope:

  • Active conservation measures – responsible agriculture and energy practices
  • Creation of protected lands and linking them with communities to demonstrate the enjoyment of nature
  • Innovative efforts for sustainable agriculture – water is a big problem right now for California and most likely will be for the future
  • Keep up with the efforts – conservation measures have to be continuous for them to be effective

Despite the sad facts (I am depressed by this), not all is lost. California Condors are coming back due to the great conservation efforts and breeding programs. That’s good news. However, for more good news to take place, action needs to happen. Without action, these beautiful birds will fall by the wayside and finally into extinction. A lot of people don’t understand that when extinction happens, that species does not come back, ever. That’s not cool, people, not cool at all.

This information summed up the part on Aridlands from the State of the Birds Report. Check back next week for the next installment.

“Till next time – enjoy!

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