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Migratory birds connect the Northern Plains with many parts of the Western Hemisphere. Barn and Cliff Swallows, McCown's Longspurs, this Lark Bunting, and many other birds winter from Central to southern South America. But their reproduction depends on the bounty of the prairie spring. Disrupting any part of their annual life cycle - breeding habitat, stopover places during spring and fall migration, and wintering habitat - reduces the survival of the species. Learn more at StateOfTheBirds.org.
Written by Gordon Orians
This is BirdNote!
Lark Bunting [song]… [Long-billed Curlew]… Willet [in-flight call]… [Sprague’s Pipit… Marbled Godwit]…McCown’s Longspur [song]… [Chestnut-collared Longspur… Greater Sage-Grouse… Sharp-tailed Grouse… Dusky Grouse…]
Why do so many species of birds choose the grassy plains of northeast Montana to raise their young? In May, prairie vegetation here, released at last from a cold, snowy winter, will grow vigorously, stimulated by long, warm days. This concentrated vegetative growth feeds hordes of insects that birds capture easily in the short grass. The open plains are ideal breeding areas for grouse as well as shorebirds, whose active offspring must forage for themselves while their parents guard them.
[Call of Long-billed Curlew]
Migratory birds connect the Northern Plains with many parts of the Western Hemisphere. Barn and Cliff swallows, [calls of Barn and Cliff Swallows] for example, winter on the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay. But their reproduction depends on the bounty of the prairie spring. Disrupting any part of their annual life cycle – breeding habitat, stopover places during spring and fall migration, and wintering habitat – reduces the survival of the species.
We need to conserve these places to ensure that the birds return each year.
Today’s show brought to you by The Lufkin Family Foundation. For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
[Song of Lark Bunting, call of Willet, and song of McCown’s Longspur]
Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Lark Bunting recorded by G.A. Keller, Long-billed Curlew R.S. Little, Willet (in flight) by M.J. Anderson, McCown’s Longspur by G.A. Keller, Chestnut-collared Longspur by G.A. Keller; Long-billed Curlew by R.S. Little; Barn Swallows by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org February 2011 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID # SotB-connectivity-01-2011-02-16