Monday, July 9, 2007

Box Stores = Bird Habitat

Here is a phenomenon that we are already familiar with at our own local Home Depot: house sparrows finding a place to live in big box-type stores. And why not? As the article notes, these places give a few bird species all they need - food (in the form of bird seed, etc.), water, nesting areas and few predators.

One thing that surprised me about the story is the accompanying box of text that says House Sparrow populations are declining. Wonder what this is based on? I had assumed that House Sparrows, as well as other urbanized birds such as European Starlings, were and are expanding rapidly as urban and suburban habitats provided by humans expand.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found it somewhat sad that someone commented that they felt like they were ... "outdoors, in nature" while shopping in a KMart looking at House Sparrows.....

NoFlickster said...

According to the Birds of North America (BNA), the population status is based on Breeding Bird Survey data collected in North America from 1966-2004, which has documented the overall decline.

From the BNA account:
"Trends measured by Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data show continent-wide population decline for period 1966 – 2004; data from all BBS routes indicated general decline in numbers . . . ." It also states that in only 2 of 67 regions across North America is there a "non-negative" trend: Great Basin Deserts and the Pacific Northwest.

Interestingly, they are also declining in Europe.

The decline is believed to be, in part, due to changes in farming methods: increased use of pesticides and increased efficiency, such as less spilled grain, less seed-bearing weedy plants.

Interesting post about store birds - my "best" sighting was a Common Yellowthroat checking out a local grocery's produce section.

Warren & Lisa Strobel said...

Thanks for the comments. Now if we could just get European Starling populations to decline. :)

FWIW, I saw a very tame Eastern Kingbird in the parking lot of our local Safeway/Best Buy the other day, hunting insects from a small tree in a median strip...

Dorothy said...

Now for something completely different: Here’s a silly thing, but kinda fun. You’ve probably seen the “8 random facts” meme that’s been floating around the web for a while. Well, I’m tagging you with it! The rules of the game are that you write a blog entry disclosing eight random facts that your readers don’t know about you and then tag eight more bloggers to do the same. Contact them to let them know they’ve been tagged. Have fun with it!