I've often asked myself questions about the birds we see out on the tallgrass now...were they all here in similar numbers or did we create conditions making them more prevalent in some ways? I know the American Goldfinch was very likely as common out on the prairie now as a couple hundred years ago. Maybe their population was different than now, but they most certainly were a bird of the prairie as much as the rest of the North American continent.
What about others? The Baltimore and Orchard Orioles are back in the acreage now. Were they "here" back "in the day"? I'm assuming they may have been a savanna species...here in SE O'Brien County (Iowa), there were Bur Oak savannas nearby...some along Waterman Creek in the valley here but more so along the Little Sioux River valley south of us. If they were a species of the savanna, were they "common"? Interesting question. I must say that if they weren't common then, we're very fortunate they are now!!! Love these guys!
See you on the Tallgrass!