While marketing campaigns against farming claim otherwise, agricultural practices can have a broad beneficial influence on bird abundance and diversity. Row crops are considered to be bad for wildlife but a new study shows that isn't necessarily true.
The report finds that several bird species – some of them rare – are making extensive use of soybean fields in Illinois.
The team spent about 13 weeks each spring and summer in 2011 and 2012 scouring a total of 24 fields (12 per year) in two counties in Central Illinois. The fields were 18 to 20 hectares (44-49 acres) on average, and the researchers walked roughly 3,200 kilometers (1,988 miles) in the course of the study.