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Piedmont

Virginia map highlighting the Piedmont region

The Piedmont region has the highest human population in the state and that 95% of its land base is in private ownership. An effective bird conservation strategy for the Piedmont must therefore include a significant landowner outreach component. As part of a landowner outreach strategy, partners have developed a publication titled 'Managing Land in the Piedmont of Virginia for the Benefit of Birds and Other Wildlife'. The first edition, printed in 2006, encompassed nine northern Piedmont counties. The second edition was printed in August 2008 and expands the geographic scope of the original to include the entire Virginia Piedmont. The group is currently making plans to develop a landowner workshop for distribution of the guide and to increase awareness of bird conservation issues.

In the face of escalating development pressure and habitat fragmentation in the Virginia Piedmont, forested riparian areas are increasingly valuable as unique avian habitats. Basic data on the distribution and abundance of breeding birds along riparian zones has been lacking for Virginia; no past or current bird survey or monitoring effort, including the North American Breeding Bird Survey, adequately samples these habitats. In 2008, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO) partnered to address this data gap. The VSO's annual Foray relied on skilled volunteers to survey selected riparian segments by canoe and kayak. A total of 18 riparian segments were surveyed, including 10 segments along 5 Piedmont rivers. Results will be reported in an upcoming issue of the VSO's 'The Raven'.

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Northern Bobwhite banner image by Bill Hubick