Programs in the Eastern Panhandle bring awareness to the decline in bird population and land conservation

West Virginia

Officials say there are nearly 3 billion less birds in North America, compared to numbers from 1970

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — The West Virginia Rivers Coalition teamed up with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society to bring awareness to the decline in the bird population and land conservation.

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society says there are nearly three billion fewer birds in North America, compared to numbers from 1970. They say bird populations are expected to continue to decline in the face of rapid habitat loss through development and climate change. The society says their mission is education and conservation through initiatives.

“Grassland birds initiative, and that’s because grassland birds are some of the most endangered birds in our communities from loss of habitat, next is pollinator patch, we encourage people to use native species to develop their yard and home environments,” Suzanne Offutt said, the president of Potomac Valley Audubon Society.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition joined the society at the Cool Spring Nature Preserve in Jefferson County. Officials from the preserve that have been teaching there for over 30 years explain how this issue resonates locally.

“You don’t see those groups of birds like we used to 30 years ago,” Wil Hershberger said.

There are ways that landowners can help protect bird habitat and land conservation. It’s as simple as not mowing your lawn if you have the space to let it grow.

“Stop mowing it and let it grow so it looks like this, fields of wildflowers that attracts pollinators and other insects which provide food for birds,” Hershberger said.

The rivers coalition says its all about working together collaboratively. They say, bringing awareness to the community is key especially when it comes to habitat protection in the face of climate change.

“These extreme fluctuations in climatic patterns, not only does that have an impact on bird populations that are already threatened by loss of habitat but they also have a major impact on the safety of our drinking water supplies,” Tanner Haid said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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