A story by Chester Moore, "Wildlife Conservation: Why Waterfowl?", brought the following to my attention:
- "Waterfowl species are not as secure since the vast majority nest in the prairie pothole and boreal forest regions of the U.S. and Canada."
- "Ducks in particular need native grasslands and other highly specialized habitat to survive."
… which led me to more sources:
- "Sadly, the loss of these prairie grasslands, and the wetlands within them, will be devastating to duck populations, sportsmen, and businesses related to waterfowling… Breeding ducks also need large expanses of grasslands. " (Plowing the Prairie by Scott Stephens, Ph.D., for Ducks Unlimited)
- ""The best wild duck nesting success depends on at least four miles of surrounding prairie grass. … [Another] finding is particularly important if scientists want to preserve prairie-nesting shorebirds such as willets, marbled godwits, upland sandpipers and Wilson’s phalaropes." (Nesting ducks need miles of grassland, MSU researcher finds by Carol Schmidt on Montana State University’s web site)
It seems we are always finding more reasons to conserve and restore prairies, and more potential allies (birders and duck hunters in this case).