Thursday, April 14, 2005

Something to Sing About!

Yesterday’s blog entry was pretty bleak, so here is some good news from The Nature Conservancy’sSave of the Week” regarding tall grass prairie in Kansas…yes, there is still good news about protecting habitat for birds!

“Nearly 11,000 acres of rolling prairie will be protected for wildlife habitat and public recreation, thanks to an agreement between The Nature Conservancy, the Kansas Park Trust and the National Park Service. At a ceremony last week in Kansas, the Conservancy and the Kansas Park Trust announced that they will acquire the 10,894-acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and raise the remaining $2.7 million needed to permanently protect the grassland.”

To read the full article, click here.

Grassland species are among my most cherished birds. I love the sparrow genus ammodramus, and especially adore Henslow’s Sparrows. One of my favorite annual birding trips is a visit to Thousand’s Rock Point Prairie (which is, incidentally, Nature Conservancy property!) in southwest Dane County in late May or early June. Before sunrise, I’ll find a comfortable spot with a good vantage to setup my spotting scope and wait for the prairie to come alive. Eventually, the first eerie notes of Upland Sandpipers will roll out, followed closely by the distinct “see-lick!” of Henslow’s Sparrows. As sun comes up over the hill, Grasshopper Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Dickcissels and Bobolinks join in with their beautiful and distinct songs.

Henslow's Sparrow image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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