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New book on 100 years of Illinois birds
Date:12/6/2010

ke the 1900s data, the 1950s data and the modern data and model it to make stronger inferences about what's gone up, what's gone down and what hasn't changed," Brawn said.

Another unique addition from the 2000s survey is personal interviews. "We learned from talking with people that their perceptions of what was happening with the bird populations were pretty accurate," Walk said.

"They recognized that wild turkeys and Canada geese were increasing and that there were fewer pheasants and quail." Walk said there is definitely a need for education, however. Most people perceived the greatest conservation need with forest birds and didn't recognize that the grassland birds were in far more danger.

The book isn't a compendium of every single bird that occurs in Illinois, but it is a compendium of the major birds that people are most familiar with, Brawn said. The book provided information on how the birds and the landscapes of Illinois have changed. The last chapter of the book offers some predictions of what might happen in the future. "We think species such as hawks are going to be fine because they appear to be adapting to living with humans in urban areas. Currently crows can be seen in urban areas having learned to eat French fries out of garbage cans at fast food restaurants. One hundred years ago, they avoided towns. The species that will thrive in Illinois are likely the ones that can cope with humans," Ward said.

Mike Ward is an assistant professor in the U of I Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) and a research scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey. Jeff Walk is the director of science for the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Jeff Brawn is an ornithologist and head of the Department of NRES in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. Other authors are Thomas Benson, Jill Deppe, Stacy Lischka, and Steven Bailey, w
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Contact: Debra Levey Larso
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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