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“Conservation efforts need to cater more to female bird species,” says new study

Posted: Saturday, November 9, 2019. 10:30 am CST.

By BBN Staff: A new study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, notes that conservation plans to save bird species are not adequately taking the needs of female birds into consideration.

The study, which used data from the declining bird populations in countries such as  Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama showed that when conservation plans to protect bird habitats are rolled out, they do not take into account that female birds occupy habitats that are of lower elevation than their male counterparts.

The study’s lead author, Ruth Bennett, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, conducted the research while at Cornell University. Bennett said that in the conservation plans for 66 declining migratory species, only 3 made any mention of his-and-her-habitats. Those plans were for the Golden-winged Warbler, Bicknell’s Thrush, and Black-capped Vireo, which lead Bennett to conclude that female birds are definitely being overlooked.

“When conservation plans don’t explicitly address the habitat requirements of both sexes, there’s no guarantee both sexes will be protected. Overlooking habitats females use can lead to unforeseen population loss, which is especially critical for species of conservation concern,” says Bennett.

Bennet concluded that it would require more investment in conservation planning to consider the specific needs of female birds, but those considerations will see the most return on investment in the long term. The blog Phys.org published an article this week highlighting

Bennett’s research and its findings.


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