Monday, March 23, 2009
Kansas State University researchers say three grassland birds are disappearing from the Flint Hills.
Research by ecologist Kimberly With and her colleagues finds that the dickcissel, eastern meadowlark and grasshopper sparrow are experiencing severe population declines.
They say that's because extensive land management techniques, such as annual burning and widespread grazing, reduces cover for nests and makes them more vulnerable to predators.
The Flint Hills is home to a half-billion-dollar cattle industry and is heavily managed for grazing and other land uses.
They found the three bird species weren't breeding successfully. They estimate population declines of as much as 29% yearly during two-year study, which began in 2004.