When it comes to frequent flier miles, there’s probably no one racking up more than neotropical migrants. These are birds that live and breed in North America during the summer, but fly south to Central or South America for the winter. There are nearly 400 different species of these migratory birds…but many of them are disappearing at an alarming rate. There are many causes, with loss of habitat at both the breeding and wintering grounds being one of the largest. But unfortunately, scientists still know too little about many of these birds to come up with an effective plan to help them. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us from the Cumberland Mountains down to the Gulf Coast to see how caring people are working to help save these amazing birds.
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Create habitat and provide food sources by planting native trees, shrubs and flowering plants; leave snag trees as potential nesting sites.
- Educate others about the threats migratory songbirds face in two continents.
- Volunteer to participate in monitoring projects such as Breeding Bird Surveys and Migration Counts.
- Donate money to groups that purchase habitat in North and South America.
- Buy shade-grown coffee. If the shade for the coffee plants is provided by native trees you can actually get very high densities of birds wintering in these areas.
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