[Tweeters] Solutions for extirpated birds

Kelly Cassidy lostriver at completebbs.com
Mon Jun 6 12:42:53 PDT 2005

Reintroductions are fairly common, but Nighthawks and W. Bluebirds are bad 
examples.  Both still occur in the Puget Trough.  Nighthawks breed in much 
of western Washington, but no longer in the heavily developed area.  The 
(hypothesized) cause is predation of roof top nests by gulls, crows, and 
other urban nest predators.  Insecticides might be a factor, too. 
Nighthawks are all around Seattle and could reestablish themselves if we 
knew why they had declined and were willing to take actions to address the 
problems.  I don't think people are going to stop feeding wild animals, so 
the crow and gull populations will likely remain very high.

Bluebirds still nest in the open woodlands in Pierce and Thurston county 
and, to a lesser extent, in forest clearings in low elevations of western 
Washington.  They are excluded from the developed areas where they once 
occurred, but could easily reintroduce themselves if the habitat were 
appropriate.  They don't compete well with House Sparrows and European 
Starlings for nest cavities.  However, House Sparrows have been declining 
steadily over much of their native and introduced range, including Seattle, 
and bluebirds have not increased.  Bluebirds need insects and like to forage 
in brush piles, so they may also be affected by the use of insecticides and 
the compulsion of human gardeners to remove all woody debris and dead plant 
material from their gardens.

The bottom line is that the easiest of species to reintroduce successfully 
are those that declined due to overhunting or some other easily changed 
factor.  Habitat restoration is much harder.

Kelly Cassidy
Pullman, WA
mailto:lostriver at completebbs.com

More information about the Tweeters mailing list