Grasslands and Grassland Birds of the Eastern U.S.

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Show notes:

Grassland birds such as bobwhite quail, meadowlarks, sparrows, northern harriers, burrowing owls, and many others represent one of our fastest declining groups of birds. In many ways, this makes sense since grasslands are some of our fastest declining ecosystems, especially in the eastern U.S. Yet, many people don’t realize how rapidly grassland birds and the grassland ecosystems they depend on our disappearing.

In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we talk with Jeremy French about grasslands and grassland birds. Jeremy is the Interior Low Plateau Ecoregion Coordinator for Quail Forever and the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative.

Jeremey and I begin our conversation by talking about grasslands and the fact that many people don’t realize just how common grasslands were in the eastern U.S. Both of us share that we didn’t always know about our Eastern grasslands either. We may have known something about the grasslands in parts of Florida, but not for the rest of the eastern U.S. Yet, the plants, animals, and even historical accounts of the first European explorers to the area all provide hints of a very different and much more diverse landscape than the near solid forest that many of grew up thinking existed here.

Our conversation then moves to the grassland birds that depend on the grassland ecosystems that are rapidly disappearing and have often been forgotten. We talk about some of the different types of grassland birds, how they are declining, and actions we can take on our own properties to help support grassland birds. We also share how important we both believe it is to learn about our grassland plants, grassland birds, and other organisms, as well as how some of the hardest and most eye-opening questions we’ve been asked have come from people just starting to learn about a topic. We wrap up with Jeremy telling us a little bit about the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, Quail Forever, and ways that these two organizations can help our listeners.


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Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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