Winners: Increasing or Stable Populations

Here are the list of birds that I have photographed whose populations have increased over the past 30 years: American Crow, American Robin, Black Phoebe, Black-capped Chickadee, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Canadian Goose, Cedar Waxwing, Common Merganser, Cooper’s Hawk, Double-crested Cormorant, Eastern Bluebird, Great Black-backed  Gull, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Greater Yellowlegs, Hairy Woodpecker, House Finch, Osprey, Pileated Woodpecker, Pine Warbler, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Sandhill Crane, Snowy Egret, Tufted Titmouse, Turkey Vulture, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Wild Turkey.

Stable populations include: Acorn Woodpecker, American Coot, American Goldfinch, Anhinga, Belted Kingfisher, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Eastern Phoebe, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Gray catbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Nashville Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Spotted Towhee, Tree Swallow, Western Scrub-Jay, and White Ibis.

Using information from Cornell’s All About Birds website http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478 I identified four characteristics, at least one of which is associated with each of these birds:

  1. Lives well near humans
  2. Has wide-ranging habitats
  3. Benefits from protective human intervention
  4. Nests in the far North.

Birds that are able to live near people thrive because they tend to have food advantages provided by people, or because people changed the environment in such a way that expanded the birds’ food supply.  Back-yard feeders, farmers plowing fields–exposing worms that Gulls flock to–and the availability of open dumpsters and landfills are just a few examples. Another factor is that nearly all these birds have wide-ranging habitats, except for the: Acorn Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Eastern Bluebird, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and the Wild Turkey.  Nevertheless, these birds do well because they either live well near humans, or they have benefitted from protective human intervention, see: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/RegulationsPolicies/treatlaw.html.

In my next posting I will list the birds whose populations have decreased during the past 30 years, along with their associated characteristics. Until then, please send me any comments you might have.

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