Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Case, "Why Bird Numbers Are Dwindling," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1994) 62(3).


Copyright 1994, Nebraska Orntihologists' Union. Used by permission.


John Terborgh (1989) wrote a book entitled "Where Have All the Birds Gone?" and numerous other articles on the same theme. There was an article in the Lincoln, NE Sunday Journal-Star, June 19, 1994 concerning dwindling bird numbers on the grasslands. The answer to declining bird numbers is the degradation, fragmentation, and loss of habitats. Sometimes ornithologists disagree on whether the breeding habitats or wintering habitats are impacted most, yet there is nearly universal agreement that habitat is the key. Further evidence for the impact of humans on birds can be obtained by noting those species that are flourishing in human-modified environments. Examples of these include Cattle Egret, Ring-necked Pheasant, Northern Bobwhite, Rock Dove, European Starling, House Finch, and House Sparrow.

The easy answer is to blame someone else - the Department of Roads, developers, farmers, or urban sprawl. However, I am to blame and so are you, your neighbor, and all other humans. In the rest of this article, I will discuss how we impact habitats. The causes are apparent, but how we deal with them will continue to be debatable. How much time do we have left to debate?