– Identify regions and landscapes where hummingbirds are likely to co-occur with agricultural activity during breeding, migration and overwintering periods. This may be accomplished by:
– Utilizing existing tools, such as the Audubon Explorer map which describes bird migrations and key threats along the routes
– Identify key stopover sites and/or corridors for migratory hummingbirds
– Align distribution maps with land cover layers containing agricultural and non-agricultural land cover types to identify areas where intensive agriculture may impact hummingbirds
– Focus research that helps to identify critical migration, stopover, nesting, and overwintering sites for hummingbirds
– Compare the benefits and costs of semi-natural field-edge habitats for hummingbirds compared to more natural areas without agricultural activity
RESEARCH: Improve Knowledge of Hummingbirds in Agricultural Areas
– Develop avian survey methodology to better incorporate hummingbirds
– Identify the impacts of different crop types on hummingbirds
– Improve knowledge about which agricultural crops are used by hummingbirds and to what extent
– Research best strategies to increase the volume of hummingbird plants in agricultural areas
– Improve knowledge on which stages of the annual cycle are limiting populations of migratory and resident hummingbirds
Build Collaborations with Agriculture
Improve Farmer Awareness of Methods to Protect Habitat
– Provide workshops for cattle ranchers to promote the planting of hummingbird flowers
– Support habitat corridors with flowering plants
– Identify priority habitats that can be improved for hummingbirds
– Support uncropped areas within agricultural fields and ensure that they include hummingbird plants
– Develop Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) or adapt BMPs that address specific crops and the conservation/restoration of flowering plants that are compatible with those crops
– Work with farmers and ranchers to create keystone “structures” or areas within agricultural landscapes that feature native habitats and may serve as refuges for hummingbirds (and other birds). Hummingbirds benefit from shrubby or treed areas with openings that allow for the growth of flowers and access to arthropods.
– Promote and conserve small, traditional and ecologically based agricultural practices that include flowering plants used by hummingbirds
– Work with NRCS staff to revise and promote planting of flowering plants beneficial to hummingbirds in “Hedgerow Plantings” (NRCS practice # 424) in key regions across the West. Promote protection and fencing of riparian areas to preserve water resources and riparian vegetation vital to hummingbirds (NRCS practice # 390 “Riparian Herbaceous Cover” and #391 “Riparian Forest Buffer”).
– Promote cover crops (NRCS practice # 340) that include herbaceous plans beneficial to hummingbirds (and bees), promote soil health and prevent soil loss.
Raise Awareness among agencies/organizations
– Collaborate with NRDC, Departments of Natural Resources, Farm Service Agency, Land Services programs, landowner programs and others to raise awareness of hummingbird declines and to promote involvement in conservation strategies
– Coordinate with other bird conservation activities to incorporate hummingbirds (grassland bird conservation, etc) into their research and conservation actions
– Share information about specific plants that hummingbirds use and how they can coexist with agriculture
– Integrate habitat needs for hummingbirds with outreach for habitat for social bees and other beneficial insects on or near farms
– Work with Wild Farm Alliance ( https://www.wildfarmalliance.org/) and similar NGOs (?) to expand workshops prompting viable agriculture, biodiversity and the practices mentioned above to all western states and provinces in hummingbirds range.