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The Importance Of Urban Forests In Florida For Suburban Birds

The relentless pace of urban development is fracturing wildlife habitat across the state. But even as forests get paved over, the fragmented green spaces left behind provide valuable territory for local and migratory birds.

Florida is a critical resting place for birds in the middle of migration from South & Central America before they continue north to breed. After a multi-day flight across the Gulf of Mexico, these birds quickly seek food and shelter upon reaching Florida. For other birds, Florida is their final destination. However, their 21st century breeding grounds are drastically different from the past and their final destination could be someone's backyard.

Natalie Pegg and Ryan Buron are doing research in Gainesville neighborhoods and forest fragments like Loblolly Woods to study how urban forests are used by local and migratory birds. Urban areas can provide living space for humans and wildlife — under the right circumstances. Keeping forest structures in towns are important to the well-being of wildlife and its human residents.

Justin is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by emailing news@wuft.org or calling 352-392-6397.