May 2022 - News from the Wild Side


Supporting the Next Generation of Avian Predators

We’re now in the middle of nesting season and seeing the next generation of nestlings out on farms is a perfect reminder about why wild farming is so important. Together, we’re protecting and restoring wild nature. Increasing habitat on farms is a win for beneficial wildlife and a win for farmers wanting pest control services. Below are some lovely photos of an occupied songbird nest box from a farm on our Farmland Flyway trail, and also instructions on how to share your nest box updates with us.

The newsletter additionally covers several upcoming WFA events - we hope to see you! In June, we are hosting two Farmland Flyways, Wildway and Waterways field days, and our online course for agricultural professionals and farmers about the Role of Birds on the Farm continues with lessons that cover how to design a farm to be bird friendly, how to see the see the land through the eyes of birds and more.

We are happy to share some good news about our work to protect Native Ecosystems - your comments are making a difference and we are closer to ensuring Native Ecosystems do not go under the organic plow! We highlight a new study that shows staggering declines in bird populations worldwide. Agriculture must step up and turn its 40% footprint on the world’s land into an asset that can help slow the decline. Many farmers are already doing that by providing food, cover and water for birds during the nesting season and year-round, and by having stopover places during migration. In return they are realizing the benefits of birds' pest control services.

Finally, we invite you to learn more from our partners. Today is National Endangered Species Day and our friends at the Endangered Species Coalition have actions you can take. We also want to let you know about a new book that touches on how agriculture can address the climate crisis.

Enjoy this month’s News from the Wild!

Have you Checked Your Nest Boxes Lately?

Farmland Flyways, Wildways and Waterways Field Days

Ongoing Online Course: Role of Birds on the Farm

Prioritizing Native Ecosystems: We’re making progress

Global bird populations steadily declining

Celebrate 17th Annual Endangered Species Day

Regeneration Book Review


Have you Checked Your Nest Boxes Lately?

We recommend checking boxes a few times a year at minimum. If you have time, checking weekly during nesting season is ideal. Before looking inside a box, first read NestWatch’s Code of Conduct and take their quick quiz to become certified. NestWatch goes over two different ways to prevent predators from noticing the nest you are checking, five different times when it’s best not to check, and how to be quick when you do. For help identifying the eggs, nests and nesting materials of the different species, reference the images in Table 1 of our Nesting Structures for Beneficial Songbirds on the Farm resource. Keep records of what you find and share with Wild Farm Alliance on our Farmland Flyways portal or via email at [email protected]. Thanks to Little Paradise Farm for sending in these Western Bluebird photos!

Farmland Flyways, Wildways and Waterways Field Days

We are excited to invite you to our two Farmland Flyways, Wildways and Waterways Field Days in June! After two years of showcasing farms and their practices to support biodiversity in a virtual setting, we are once again gathering in person. The events will feature several speakers including avian ecologists, conservation professionals, farmers, researchers and more!

Live Earth Farm
June 2, 2022, Watsonville, CA
We are partnering with EcoFarm and Tom Broz of Live Earth Farm to host this exciting field day that will walk participants through several areas of the farm, which feature innovative practices that support biodiversity.

Speakers include: Richard Smith, Monterey County Farm Advisor; Sam Earnshaw, Hedgerow Unlimited; Joji Muramoto, UCCE Organic Production Specialist; Sacha Lozano, RCD of Santa Cruz County. Read the agenda and register here.

Grgich Hills Estate
June 7, 2022, American Canyon, CA
Grgich Hills Estate Winery celebrates the role biodiversity plays in growing wine grapes. Rather than eradicate all pests, they seek to keep them in check with the use of Barn Owl and songbird boxes. They also keep the ground covered in between vine rows, mowing cover crops rather than tilling, leaving roots other than vines for pest voles to eat.

Speakers include: Ivo Jeramaz, Grgich Hills Estate; Prudy Foxx, Foxx Viticulture; Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines; Lucas Patzek, Napa RCD; Xeronimo Castaneda, Audubon California; Jaime Carlino and Laura Echávez, of Cal Poly Humboldt’s Barn Owl Research Team; Wendell Gilgert, Stewardship Ecologist. Read the agenda and register here.


Ongoing Online Course: Role of Birds on the Farm

IIn March, WFA launched an online course for agricultural professionals and farmers to learn how to support beneficial birds and manage pest birds on farms. Lesson 6 is coming up on May 25th and will discuss co-existing with birds and making farms safe. Learn More and Register. And if you missed the first five sessions, you can watch the recordings on our resource page.

Prioritizing Native Ecosystems:
We’re making progress, thanks to you!

We are getting closer to influencing the USDA to do the right thing and protect native ecosystems. Thank you to all our supporters who submitted comments asking the National Organic Program to eliminate the incentive to destroy native ecosystems for organic production. The message was received as one of the top three priorities from constituents! There will be more work to do so stay tuned for future actions alerts to push USDA to take the next step forward.

Learn more about this issue here.

Global Bird Populations Steadily Declining

A new worldwide study concludes that substantial bird populations are taking place across the globe. Loss and degradation of natural habitats is a key threat.

"After documenting the loss of nearly 3 billion birds in North America alone, it was dismaying to see the same patterns of population declines and extinction occurring globally," says conservation scientist Ken Rosenberg from the Cornell Lab, now retired. "Because birds are highly visible and sensitive indicators of environmental health, we know their loss signals a much wider loss of biodiversity and threats to human health and well-being."

Read more here.

Celebrate 17th Annual Endangered Species Day

Today is Endangered Species Day! This yearly celebration of conservation success is a time to look back at the progress we have achieved in preventing extinction while continuing to help still-struggling species. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the hard work of farmers, conservationists and activists, the peregrine falcon (a favorite of ours), bald eagle, green sea turtle, and many other species were kept from disappearing into extinction. Learn more about Endangered Species Day at


WFA joins our friends at the Real Organic Project in recommending Paul Hawken’s new book, Regeneration.

Regeneration is a radical new approach to the climate crisis, one that weaves justice, climate, biodiversity, and human dignity into a seamless tapestry of action, policy, and transformation that can end the climate crisis in one generation. It is the first book to describe and define the burgeoning regeneration movement spreading rapidly throughout the world.

Read more here.

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