EIGHT American Bitterns singing at the first 3 stops! What a way to
start a BBS. Most wouldn't consider bitterns capable of a serenade,
but they are always music to my ears. We usually think of the
American Bittern as a bird of the cat-tail marsh, but here in
northern MN, there wasn't a cat-tail to be seen. Several of the
sounds seemed to be coming from wet roadside ditches.
The BBS probably doesn't do an adequate job of monitoring bitterns,
but the BBS evidence at-hand indicates they have declined
significantly in MN (7.5% annually since 1966) and in WI (5.3%). The
decline across Canada also is significant (2.5%,) but the trend
across the US shows no real change. This species certainly bears
watching. If you would like to view the BBS range map, which also
shows abundance, please view:
My impression from WI agrees with BBS data in that I can no longer
find bitterns in some wetlands where they could be heard during the
late 1970s and 1980s.