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Black-throated Sparrow Sings in the Desert

How can birds benefit from fires?

The Black-throated Sparrow thrives in the open, arid habitats of the American Southwest. Nature maintains such native landscapes with frequent but relatively cool-burning fires. But decades of fire suppression have altered nature's pattern, setting the stage for hotter, more destructive fires. Urban development, overgrazing, and invasive plants have further degraded the habitat. National Audubon lists the Black-throated Sparrow among its Top 20 Common Birds in Decline, and recommends a more natural fire regime, prevention of overgrazing, and combating invasive plants and animals.

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BirdNote®

Black-throated Sparrows Sing in the Desert

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
[Song of the Black-throated Sparrow + SW desert ambient at dawn]
Singing from atop a cactus, a handsome bird greets the new day.
[Black-throated Sparrow song]
It’s a Black-throated Sparrow, a bird epitomizing avian life in the desert Southwest. A patch of pure black accents its throat and upper breast. White stripes boldly mark its dark face. [Black-throated Sparrow song]
Black-throated Sparrows thrive in open arid habitats, with evenly spaced shrubs and trees. [Black-throated Sparrow song] Nature maintains such native landscapes with frequent but relatively cool-burning fires.
But decades of fire suppression have altered nature’s pattern, setting the stage for hotter, very destructive fires – fires that devastate the landscape. Urban development, overgrazing, and invasive plants have further degraded the sparrow’s habitat.
The National Audubon Society lists the Black-throated Sparrow among its Top 20 Common Birds in Decline. That’s because in just 40 years, its population has dropped 60%. To stem the slide, Audubon recommends restoring a more natural fire regime, preventing overgrazing on rangelands, and combating invasive plants and animals.
All these measures would help assure that the Black-throated Sparrow’s gentle song remains a prominent voice in the Southwest.
[Black-throated Sparrow song]
Writers for BirdNote include Bob Sundstrom, Dennis Paulson, Ellen Blackstone, Frances Wood, and Todd Peterson. Today’s show was brought to you by The Lufkin Family Foundation. For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
                                        ###
Song of Black-throated Sparrow provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded at 6:00AM 50164 recorded by G.A. Keller and an ambient from Gambel’s Quail 112624 recorded by C. Marantz, 6:30AM, New Mexico.  
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org     March 2012   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#      SotB-BTSP-01-2012-03-22        SotB-BTSP-01

http://birds.audubon.org/species/blaspa3 for NAS account

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