BROWN COUNTY – There are almost three billion fewer birds in the United States and Canada today than there were 50 years ago. The Oneida Nation hopes its habitat conservation efforts will lead to a positive impact in area bird populations. Since 1970, the North American bird population has lost 29% of its breeding adults and 53% of its grassland bird population, according to a Science report published in 2019.In partnership with the Northeast Wisconsin and Great Lakes Audubon Society chapters, the Oneida Nation began a survey of birds within reservation marshland and wetland areas late last month.Tony Kuchma, Oneida Nation Wetlands project manager, said the partnership will help in the Nation’s habitat restoration projects. Kuchma said because his expertise is restoring habitat and its plant communities, and not in the animals that live there, the Audubon Society’s knowledge can be used in future project decisions.
“With Audubon gathering data, they can help me understand who’s living there, and we can maybe collaborate on future projects about how to best manage the land,” he said. Erin Giese, a senior research specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and president of NEW Audubon, said restoration efforts typically lead to an increase in species populations. “It’s exciting because it provides habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and animals to use,” Giese said. “It’s always a great idea if possible to monitor plants and animals that use the site since it was restored.”