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American songbirds declining.

The destruction of tropical forests in Mexico and Central America is reducing the numbers of migratory songbirds in the United States, said biologists at a recent National Audubon Society conference in Silver Bay, N.Y.

Migratory birds such as warblers, thrushes and tanagers are finding fewer winter retreats because tropical forests are being bulldozed to make cattle ranches, says Sandy Sprunt, vice-president and director of research for the New York-based society.

However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Marshall Howe suggests a different reason for the decline. Preliminary data, he says, indicate that habitat destruction in the United States, where migratory birds nest, may affect birds such as flycatchers, warblers and vireos more than the destruction in Latin America. "But neither point of view is well substantiated," he says.

"Both are a problem," says Sprunt. "But the destruction in the United States is not going on nearly as fast."
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 6, 1985
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