Illinois Common Birds in Decline

Illinois Common Birds in Decline

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Stephen Packard pines for the bird songs he heard as a child.

He’s the director of the Audubon Chicago Region.

PACKARD: When I walk through a grassland or a woodland that used to have healthy bird sounds, and I hear silence, it’s a very dreary silence.

Packard says some Illinois bird populations have dropped between 70 and 80 percent.

He points to urban sprawl and changing habitats as the biggest culprits.

PACKARD: Birds aren’t just symbols of freedom and beauty. If we’re losing all of our birds, it’s something that ought to make people think about what’s happening to the rest of the ecosystem.

Despite the gloom of the Audubon study, Packard is optimistic about Illinois.

He says the state does a good job restoring wildlife habitats.

For Chicago Public Radio, I’m Deborah Lee.