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The OSA Project

Going Beyond Borders for Birds

Baltimore Oriole by David Freriks -- Each spring, millions of birds return to Wisconsin from distant winter haunts. Hungry and tired from thousands of miles of perilous travel, our birds can count on Wisconsin to provide the habitat they need. But that is not always the case south of the border, where more than half of Wisconsin’s 238 breeding bird species spend the winter. Throughout Latin America, deforestation and incompatible development are squeezing Wisconsin’s birds into ever smaller wintering grounds, threatening their long-term survival.

Despite significant conservation efforts in Wisconsin, global bird populations continue to decline. Loss of habitat, pollution and global warming threaten the birds that enhance our quality of life. Our migrating birds spend only about half of their lives with us, so protecting them requires a ‘whole-life-cycle’ approach.

Recognizing the need to act internationally on behalf of Wisconsin’s birds, the Foundation has joined public and private partners at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Neenah Paper to safeguard important migratory bird wintering habitat on Costa Rica’s Osa peninsula.

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"It’s a significant gift to our reforestation and habitat protection work," noted Dr. Adrian Forsyth, president of the group’s board of directors, "and we are grateful for the support." Forsyth continued, "the long term conservation of migratory songbirds is only possible because of such north-south partnerships."

Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, the Osa peninsula harbors the last remaining old growth rain forest on the west coast of Central America. Enormous trees, some more than 1,000 years old, provide critical habitat for hundreds of species of birds, including 54 species that call Wisconsin home. Eighteen of those species are state conservation priorities, three are listed as threatened and one is endangered.

Source: Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin



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