Private landowners, organizations and corporations, including 2 million ranchers and farmers and approximately 10 million woodland owners, own and manage roughly 60 percent of the land area in the United States. Private lands are used by virtually all of the nation’s terrestrial and coastal birds, 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered or of conservation concern. Many privately owned working lands that produce food, timber and other resources for society also provide valuable habitat for birds.
“Ducks Unlimited has a long history of working with private landowners across the country to conserve and restore millions of acres of critical waterfowl and wildlife habitat,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This year’s State of the Birds Report proves that our nation’s birds can be used as an indicator of our effectiveness as stewards of the land. Landowners can add a new way to measure the productiveness of their land with the number of canvasbacks, gadwalls and pintails they see.”
The scientific data in this year’s report indicate a very high dependence on private lands among grassland, wetland and eastern forest birds, as well as the tremendous potential for bird conservation. More than 100 species have at least half of their U.S. breeding distributions on private lands.
“More than 90 percent of the land in DU’s number one priority area, the Prairie Pothole Region, is privately owned,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “The State of the Birds Report highlights the necessity of collaborating with farmers, ranchers and other private landowners to ensure their livelihood while conserving the waterfowl habitat that also results in cleaner water for everyone.”
The State of the Birds Report on Private Lands is a collaborative effort as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, involving federal and state wildlife agencies, and scientific and conservation organizations. These include North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ducks Unlimited, Klamath Bird Observatory, National Audubon Society, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc., The Nature Conservancy, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, University of Idaho, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.
The full report is available at www.stateofthebirds.org.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at www.youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.