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The Boston Globe


Derrick Z. Jackson

A wing and a prayer

Many bird species are flourishing in Massachusetts — but the news isn’t all good

Now that Joan Walsh has mapped out the bird species in Massachusetts, the question is what to make of the aviary she’s revealed. She is the director of bird monitoring at Mass Audubon, which this month released “The State of the Birds 2013” and the “Massachusetts Bird Breeding Atlas 2.” Taken together, the studies tell a story that calls for simultaneous celebration and concern.

On the positive side, 60 percent of Massachusetts bird species have increased their numbers in the last three decades, benefiting from a century’s regrowth of rural forests and suburban tree canopies, and from wetlands and clean water conservation efforts inspired by Rachel Carson’s 1960s “Silent Spring.” But the more recent dicing up of grasslands and woods for new suburban developments has 40 percent of species on the decline.

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