Tuesday, June 19. 2007
Much has been written recently about the sudden and rapid decline of songbirds. Here are some examples:good article showing the kind of subtle problems which non-native plants can bring with them. It's from Canada, but similar subtleties exist everywhere. One bush is not interchangable with another bush.
Most of these are from more northern locations. Now go look at a songbird species range map. (Here is a range map for the Tree swallow.) You will notice that the breeding range is usually huge, often covering half of the continent, while the wintering range is much smaller. That means an entire continent's worth of birds must live for half the year in a relatively smaller area. Arguably, if you remove an acre of winter habitat, that could be the equivalent of removing 5 or 10 acres of breeding habitat.
Southern California is important as breeding range for many birds, but is wintering range for a great many more. San Diego county is one of the premier birding spots in the country because of this year-round concentration of birds. That makes it vitally important that we keep as much of our natural habitat intact as possible.
The chaparral is the predominant habitat in southern California. The more of it that we can retain and restore, the better it will be for our declining songbirds.
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