The widespread and ongoing declines of North American bird populations that have affinities for grassland and grass–shrub habitats (hereafter referred to as grassland birds) are on track to become a prominent wildlife conservation crisis of the 21st century. There is no single cause responsible for the declines of grassland birds. Rather, a cumulative set of factors such as afforestation in the eastern United States, fragmentation and replacement of prairie vegetation with a modern agricultural landscape, and large-scale deterioration of western U.S. rangelands are the major causes for these declines. The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) is a set of comprehensive and coordinated strategic actions modeled on the Joint Venture initiatives that were used to successfully implement the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The NABCI is emerging as a potential broad-scale solution for conserving populations of grassland birds. Coordinating grassland bird conservation efforts with initiatives to stabilize and increase upland game birds that have strong affinities for grassland habitats—such as quail and prairie grouse—presents additional opportunities to leverage funding and resources that will positively impact virtually all species of North American grassland birds.
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Vol. 69 • No. 1