Protecting The Birds Of The Great Plains

Oklahoma'sprairie land, is one of the key things makes this state special.

Butwe can't take the land, or the birds that live there, for granted.

Bothare being threatened by development and the changing environment.

NearBartlesville, the Sutton Avian Research Center is fighting the battlefor conservation.

They'vehad notable successes like the restoration of the Southern BaldEagle.

LenaLarson is a Population Geneticist at the Center, who says their work is very rewarding.

Therestoration project has taken Oklahoma, from zero nesting pairs, to around 120 in the 2010 survey.

Shesays the center also works to preserve the environment that's needed,for prairie birds like the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

That's a species that's threatenedin the western part of the state.

There'sconcern because the prairie land is being developed andfragmented.

Anotherconcern, is the spread of the Eastern Red Cedar tree that changes theopen land to forest.

Shesays we need to be sensitive, to keeping pressure off the delicateecosystem.

Anotherfunction of the center is to educate people about prairie birds.

They'rea clear indicator of how our state and our world are doing.

Sopaying attention to them is crucial.

RyanVanZant is the Lead Bird Trainer, for the center's education programs.

Theyperform flight demonstrations, at school, to raise the awareness ofstudents.

Hesays we need to pay attention to Oklahoma's birds because they trulyare indicators of the quality of our environment.

VanZantsays they have faster metabolisms, so they respond more quickly tothe changes in the world around us.

Headds, "it's not just that they're flying around and beautiful tolook at, they actually play a very important role in a lot of waysfor us".