As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Grassland Birds Likely Dying Off From Habitat Loss, Not Insecticide Use

Contrary to publicized research, the decline in grassland bird populations may be related to habitat loss and not insecticide use.

Last year two researchers linked the drop in grassland bird population to insecticide use, but after a reexamination of the data suggests the loss of grasslands is a more likely cause, a Penn State news release reported.

"Many people think of grassland loss as something that happened long ago in North America, but the amount of grassland lost since the 1980s is absolutely staggering, whereas the insecticide use greatly declined prior to the 1990s," Jason M. Hill, a postdoctoral research associate in ecosystem science and management, Penn State said in the news release.

The researchers looked at data that showed a loss of grasslands larger than the state of Indiana between the years of 1982 and 1997; this loss was linked to the expansion of agricultural practices.

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