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State of the Birds Report

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Distinct Populations

GreatWhiteHeron_Tom_Blandford_200px.jpg
Great White Heron by Tom
Blandford

Genetically distinct populations within a single species are important reservoirs of evolutionary diversity. Quite often, upon closer examination by scientists, some of these so-called subspecies are recognized as entirely unique species of their own, as with Bicknell’s Thrush and Bell’s Sparrow. Many of these distinct populations meet Watch List criteria.

Often distinct populations are isolated and pressures on their limited habitat threaten
their existence. For example, the Great White Heron nests only in the mangroves of the Florida Keys.

Some distinct populations, such as the Yuma Clapper Rail and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, are already protected as federally endangered. Proactive conservation for other regionally distinct bird populations will protect the full diversity of American birdlife.

 

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