Segments in this Video

Declining Songbirds (03:19)


In Concord, New Hampshire, Samuel Habib, age 11, shares a passion for birds with his neighbor Joyce Ramos. Many populations are shrinking in America.

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (03:50)

Biologist Trevor Lloyd Evans directs a bird banding program. Forty years of data show an overall decline in migratory songbirds. He believes climate change is threatening migration patterns; many species are moving north—predicting trouble for humans.

Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (04:48)

Nick Rodenhouse's team studies black-throated blue warblers as a climate change indicator species. Sara Kaiser tracks food availability and breeding habits; mistiming occurs when peak insect abundance does not coincide with hatching. Bird populations respond dramatically to annual variations.

Finding Peace through Birds (04:53)

Andrea LeBlanc has turned her lawn into a meadow to create habitat. Her husband Bob died in 9/11; they used to listen to songbirds together. She discusses how the natural world has helped her in the grief process.

Canada Warbler (02:54)

Len Reitsma and Plymouth State University students catch male Canada warblers for monitoring; the population in New Hampshire is declining by 4.1% annually. Development and habitat fragmentation along migration routes are possible factors.

Migration Mystery (02:31)

Research shows 85% of annual black-throated blue warbler mortality occurs during migration. Birders track thousands of individuals in Cape May, New Jersey.

Monitoring Nighttime Migration (06:36)

Michael Lanzone and Dave LaPuma use marine radar to gather data on numbers of songbirds flying and flight altitude. Microphones installed around Cape May record flight calls for species identification. Replicating the project across the Americas could enable real-time conservation efforts.

Font Hill Wildlife Reserve (04:06)

Many North American songbirds winter in Jamaican mangrove forests. Pete Marra follows American redstarts south from New Hampshire. Development is destroying habitat along migratory routes throughout the Caribbean.

Threats to Winter Habitat (05:07)

The Jamaican government wants to turn Font Hill into a resort. Decreasing precipitation patterns are also putting pressure on limited wildlife reserves. Marra advocates raising conservation awareness through ecotourism, and is looking for funding sources to protect the site.

Preserving Habitat in Agriculture (03:27)

Most of Costa Rica's coffee is grown on small farms; one third is cultivated on deforested land. Farmer and scientist Victor Arce Chaves developed the integrated open canopy (IOC) growth method that benefits species while increasing yields.

Integrated Open Canopy Coffee Cultivation and Biodiversity (02:57)

University of Massachusetts students net golden-winged warblers, a declining species. Their research shows that IOC supports bird habitats more than shade grown coffee. Arce urges coffee consumers to choose environmentally sound sources.

Improving Coffee Production Sustainability (02:18)

In Costa Rica, coffee has traditionally been dried using wood fires, a method relying on deforestation. Arley Morales manages a solar drying facility. He believes environmentally conscious consumers will increase demand for sustainably sourced coffee.

Earth University (02:24)

A Costa Rican institution trains students from around the world to create environmentally sustainable agriculture jobs in their communities. Ceau Reginald plans to start a family breadfruit business in Haiti, to counter deforestation.

Change the World Kids (02:52)

Earth University alumni participate in reforestation programs. Nika and Phebe Meyers founded a non-profit organization that recruits school groups to create habitat for wintering migratory birds in Costa Rica.

Future of Songbirds (01:13)

Nearly a century after passenger pigeons disappeared from the wild, conservation efforts have made gains. Protecting winter habitat is crucial for the survival of migratory species.

Credits: Counting on Birds: Tales of Migration—Saving Songbirds (00:57)

Credits: Counting on Birds: Tales of Migration—Saving Songbirds

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Counting on Birds: Tales of Migration—Saving Songbirds

Part of the Series : Counting on Birds: Tales of Migration
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The population of many migratory songbirds is on the decline, but many dedicated people are trying to save them, including researchers who employ creative means to assess the health of bird populations, and school children in Vermont who are trying to help re-forest the mountains of Costa Rica, and Costa Rican coffee farmers practicing bird-friendly methods of cultivation and processing.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL129910

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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Saving Songbirds

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