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Nebraska’s unique ecology of arid prairie, lush grasslands and vast waterways makes it perfect for sandhill cranes, greater prairie chickens and western meadowlark. All told, 467 bird species live in, stop by or migrate through the state, according to the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union.
But climate change and habitat loss have led to ranges shifting and bird populations declining. Since 1970 North America has lost 30% of its birds — about 3 billion in total, according to a multi-institution study published in 2019. Birders like Titterington notice the drop in the birds arriving in his backyard, and he and others worry for their fate. The warming climate is more frequently producing weather conditions unsuitable for iconic native species.