Finally, South America’s grasslands get attention


Every fall, the buff-breasted sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) departs the high-arctic tundra of Alaska and northern Canada for its South American wintering grounds. The journey is perilous. To restore its fat reserves, the 2-ounce, 8-inch bird will take many pit stops as it travels the 20,000 kilometers (12,400 miles) across North America, the Gulf of Mexico and Panama to the grassy prairies and savannahs of the Southern Cone. Some birds will be unable to find food and will die of starvation or hypothermia en route. Others may die at the hands of hunters. But the biggest threat is habitat loss. The population of buff-breasted sandpipers has dropped from several hundred thousand in the 1920s to only 15,000 today. And with its... [Log in to read more]

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