Wednesday, May 04, 2011

State of the Birds on Public Lands

Yesterday the Department of Interior released its third annual State of the Birds report. The government picked up this yearly tradition from Audubon and other organizations that release their own annual reports on bird conservation. These reports typically make use of citizen science data, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, and eBird's database. This year's report, on bird distribution on public lands and waters, combines distribution data from the eBird database with a comprehensive database of publicly-owned protected areas.

The report focuses on how public lands and the agencies that manage them can assist bird conservation. It includes both federal and state-owned land. This is especially important for those 300 some bird species that have a majority of their distribution on public lands. It identifies several areas where public agencies should improve their holdings and management, particularly grasslands and eastern forests, both of which have far lower rates of public ownership than other habitat types.

You can read the press release, the key findings, or the full report. The latter two links are pdfs.