Range maps have become easier to create with the advent of eBird species mapping with our list data as well as elevation and global forest data. The most surprising results of using these tools are that the ranges of each species are much larger than previously thought, as well as a less habitable range, which is the actual area that each species has. can use for its own needs and requirements.
The most endangered species include not only those that are pelagic, but also those that depend on forests, which are many breeding birds in Central and South America. The eBird platform will help scientists prioritize conservation risks and habitat selection for these most endangered birds.
There have been many challenges that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and the American Bird Conservancy have worked to develop for decades. These organizations and many others have attempted to tackle the problems that plague the three billion birds that have been lost over the past half century.
Once scientists can provide a more accurate measure of how much land is actually suitable for each endangered and threatened species, can we help them thrive. Some of the new maps that are already in use are refined to include elevation and land area for species that use them, as well as the known area where each species is missing or extirpated. These habitat areas will provide a better measure of how much habitat is available for specific species with these needs, which is a bit larger than previously thought.
There are also other regions within the mapped areas that include more restrictive South American species that are smaller in area than previously assumed. As ranges change, increase and decrease due to habitat loss or climate change, the new mapping will be updated more easily with computer models.
Not only will bird ranges will be more precise, but the benefits of this mapping will also include taxa and other species that can be added.
Larger ranges are both good and bad news for many species, as well as updated conservation needs that will require the best land designations in order to be the most effective and necessary for the species entering the range. threatened and vulnerable categories.
Prioritizing each species that needs help will be difficult and will take time. Fortunately, there are many people in Central and South America who are ready to do their part to save their birds, other animals, and native plants and forests. As bird watchers, some of our money is recycled back into conservation to help the animals and their habitats we care about sustain the cycle of life, but more is needed.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy bird watching!
Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and professional photographer living in Stillwater.