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Private lands habitat program benefit California’s native birds

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Private lands habitat programs benefit California’s native birds

BY Ryan T. DiGaudio*, Kimberly E. Kreitinger**, Catherine M. Hickey*, Nathaniel E. Seavy*, Thomas Gardali* California Agriculture, October-December 2015
Volume 69, Number 4.

*Point Blue Conservation Science

**Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Madison, WI

To address the loss of wetlands and riparian forests in California, private lands habitat programs are available through U.S. federal and state government agencies to help growers, ranchers and other private landowners create and enhance wildlife habitat. The programs provide financial and technical assistance for implementing conservation practices. To evaluate the benefits of these programs for wildlife, we examined bird use of private wetlands, postharvest flooded croplands and riparian forests enrolled in habitat programs in the Central Valley and North Coast regions of California. We found that private Central Valley wetlands supported 181 bird species during the breeding season. During fall migration, postharvest flooded croplands supported wetland-dependent species and a higher density of shorebirds than did semipermanent wetlands. At the riparian sites, bird species richness increased after restoration. These results demonstrated that the programs provided habitat for the species they were designed to protect; a variety of resident and migratory bird species used the habitats, and many special status species were recorded at the sites.

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