Population Trends

Farm Bill Conservation Programs Reverse Bird Population Declines

After two decades of declines, wetland bird populations grew dramatically—and forest and grassland birds stabilized—following the introduction of key Farm Bill conservation programs.

The graph shows:

  • Strong increases for wetland birds: Before wetland easements were added to the Farm Bill in 1990, populations were down 10%. After 1990, wetland bird numbers rose by 51%
  • A turnaround for forest birds: Before the forestry title was added to the Farm Bill in 1990, forest birds were on a declining trend and down by 19%. After 1990, the decline leveled off and then rose slightly, by 3%
  • Stabilized the sharp decline of grassland birds: Long-term declines had reached 34% by the time the Conservation Reserve Program began in 1985. Declines eventually stabilized, and after grassland easements were added to the Farm Bill in 2003, populations rose by 3%