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State of the Birds 2010 report now available
Bird watchers, bird hunters and wildlife biologists will all be interested to know the details of a new report that warns of troubled times ahead for America's native birds. Just one year after the original "State of the Birds Report" was released as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, a new report titled "The State of the Birds 2010 Report on Climate Change for the United States" has been released as a follow-up. The initiative is a collaborative effort between federal and state wildlife agencies, and scientific and conservation organizations.
The original report, completed in 2009, was a compilation of data collected over 40 years through bird surveys conducted across the U.S. by biologists and citizen scientists. It documented that there had been a decline of many bird species because of habitat loss and habitat degradation. However, it also showed promising results for birds in habitats that had been restored and conserved.
The 2010 report analyzes the 2009 data and poses probable scenarios for bird populations in the event of climate change. The main conclusion of the report is that climate change may threaten hundreds of species of migratory birds.
Bird species in arid lands, which include the Great Basin desert to the north and the Mojave Desert in Southern Nevada, are subject to the stresses of drought and hot summer temperatures. They can and have been affected by low water availability, as well as a change in their food source and the vegetation they use for cover. Two examples of Nevada species that live in arid habitats are the sage grouse and the Phainopepla, but there are many others.
Sage grouse are especially vulnerable. Changes in climate and habitat lead to an increase in non-native plants that ultimately increase fire frequency, which can be devastating to sage grouse. Aggravating the situation is the tendency of these birds to have high site fidelity, and a general inability to adapt to changes in vegetation. Phainopepla are dependent on fruits that are found only in certain areas, so habitat changes may force them to move.
Increased heat and drought also may affect small Nevada birds, such as hummingbirds and verdins, which can succumb to reproductive failure and finally death. Additionally, the many birds that use Nevada's arid lands for wintering areas, such as the cactus wren and white-winged dove, may have to move their annual trips northward.
Introduction to fly-fishing class set for April 17
The Nevada Department of Wildlife will have an introduction to fly-fishing class at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park at 9 a.m. April 17. Participants will learn such basics as knot tying, terminology and equipment selection. They will also have the opportunity to put a rod in their hand for some hands-on fly-casting experience.
NDOW will provide equipment and materials. The cost for this class will be the $7 state park entrance fee. Class size is limited. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Monday. For more information and to register, contact Ivy Santee at 486-5127, Ext. 3503.