Unlike marine ecosystems, little of America's grassland's are publicly owned, only 13 percent. But, grassland birds are in serious danger as well. Forty-eight percent of birds that breed in grassland ecosystems are of concern. Four of them are endangered species.
Back on dry land, the report found that large unbroken expanses of publicly-owned forest were important for species like the Kirtland's warbler. Ninety-seven percent of the warbler's habitat is on on public lands.
Alaska in particular has huge amounts of publicly-owned forests and other lands, and these areas provide habitat for a many of Alaska's birds. In fact 90 percent of boreal forest, alpine, and arctic breeding birds depend on public lands. Alaska's public lands are also home to 34 shorebird species of high conservation status.
The report showed just how dependent some species are on the lands that all Americans hold in common, and will help land managers understand how to best conserve the shared property of all U.S. citizens.
"The 2011 State of the Birds report reflects significant achievement by public agencies and all of our long-standing partners in improving bird habitats," said Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman in a press release.
"The USDA programs are innovative and creative. Over the last two years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has played a critical role in working cooperatively with landowners to conserve migratory birds in the Gulf of Mexico, sage grouse in the great plains, and others," he continued.
"The Forest Service has developed a draft Forest Planning rule that will ensure our National Forests support birds and other wildlife for decades to come," said Sherman.
The report was compiled form information gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey's Protected Areas Database of the United States, as well as information posted by the public to eBirds.
IMAGE 1: The Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. (Wikimedia Commons)
IMAGE 2: The Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis, use public and private lands in Nebraska during their migrations. (Wikimedia Commons)
IMAGE 3: The Kirtland's warbler, Dendroica kirtlandii. (Wikimedia Commons)