Can we help our feathered friends find their way through lands we have altered for our own benefit?

For decades we have argued about whether people or wildlife take precedence over land, the crux of the problem ultimately being that coexistence is difficult and sacrificing may decrease our quality of life. The program BirdReturns consists of temporary “pop up” wetlands, or rice fields flooded with irrigation water meant to aid the migratory birds that inhabit these areas during their migration.  Fields are flooded only temporarily allowing for the cheap recreation of natural habitat instead of the purchase and maintenance of large tracts of land.

Through clever use of aerial footage and free, easily-accessed citizen-science data, it seems that this inexpensive solution just might work – meshing agricultural landscapes with the needs of wildlife is having your cake and eating it too. The program also presents and excellent opportunity for citizen scientists to become involved with practical, high-impact solutions in a way that was never really possible before.

That being said, more research is needed to identify whether this solution will be viable long-term, however, given the first wave of success with implementing pop up wetlands, the program holds tremendous potential.

Thanks to Fulbright Fellow Jessie Williamson for her expertise in the area. Edited by Stephanie Hays.




One thought on “‘Pop up’ wetlands pop up to aid in bird migration

  1. Thanks for this informative post. I’ve always been interested in bird migration patterns etc.

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