More Local Habitat Loss

Previously I reviewed H. David Bohlen’s A Study of the Birds of Sangamon County, Illinois 1970–2010. In it he shares his conclusions on monitoring birds in Springfield IL over the last 40 years.

One of his main points is the loss of habitat in Sangamon County over the last 40 years.  As noted before I have only lived in the Indianapolis area for a couple of years but can see the same effects that Bohlen noted.  It isn’t too hard to see all the housing and businesses that were built before things slowed down in 2008. The loss of habitat over the last 50 years has had to be great.

Even more recently I learned that another of my better birding areas was going to be developed into a retail area. As you know I like to bird close to home. And the best local spot for grassland birds is the undeveloped SE corner of Interstate 65 and County Line Rd. in Greenwood.

Not much to look at in winter but in summer it is a pretty good grassland area. It still has plenty of sparrows even in winter. I-65 & County Line Rd. – Johnson County – 11/22/15
There are often raptors sitting in the tree line to the south. I-65 & County Line Rd. – Johnson County – 11/22/15

It has been left dormant for years and several grassland species can be found there – good numbers of Savanna Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark for example.  And the other expected sparrows – Song, White-throated, and White-crowned in season.  Dickcissels frequent the area in summer along with Killdeer which are always running around.  On every visit I see raptors hunting the area. And I even saw a Rough-legged Hawk last winter.

Mike told me that the area was scheduled to be developed into a shopping area back in the 2000’s but was called off with the economic slowdown several years ago. Now it seems it is going to happen.

So what will happen to the meadowlarks and sparrows? There is a smaller area a mile south that has similar habitat but it already houses those species and probably can’t sustain more numbers. Hopefully the birds from this area will disperse and breed elsewhere. But the odds are they will live out their lives without finding suitable habitat and not breed.

Which means loss of more birds.