Canada has so much to contribute to mitigating climate change. Just to start, we could stop the expansion of the tar stands, we could become leaders in sustainable, biodiversity-friendly alternative energy and we could ensure the preservation of one of our greatest treasures: the boreal forest. A report released today by the Boreal Songbird Initiative and the Canadian Boreal Initiative explains why ensuring this treasure is preserved is so important in the fight against climate change. The report comes about a month after a Global Forest Watch paper highlighted the fact that governments and industry do not measure or report on the significant amounts of greenhouse gases that are emitted when the Boreal forest is destroyed for tar sands development.… read more →
The bright yellow throat and pointed facial features of the Blanding’s Turtle give it an unmistakable look among the many turtles that live in Canada’s rivers, lakes and ponds. The carapace (top shell) can reach a length of up to 27 cm and is normally dark brown or black, with tan or yellow spots or lines across it. The plastron (bottom shell) is normally bright yellow. In Canada, distinct populations of the Blanding’s Turtle occur in southwestern Québec, southern Ontario and central-southwest Nova Scotia. The Canadian distributions account for 20% of the species’ global range. During the summer months, this turtle can be found in many different types of freshwater areas, from lakes and slow-moving streams to marshes and swamps.… read more →
Feeding birds can be a rewarding experience, and a great way to connect with nature. But are you really helping your feathered friends? Here’s the truth about some common bird feeding myths: Myth: Feeding birds prevents them from migrating. Fact: Birds migrate in response to factors such as length of daylight and weather, not because of food availability. In fact, birds need more food during long migrations, so your feeder may be a welcome stop for species you don’t normally see in your area. Myth: Birds become dependent on feeders. Fact: Most birds use many sources of food and do not rely on just one. If your feeder happens to go empty, most birds will find food elsewhere, although you’ll… read more →
The community of Formon is in the buffer zone of Macaya National Park. This forest, high in the mountains of the Massif de la Hotte, is one of the very last remnants of forest in Haiti. It is a refuge for migrating birds and many endemic threatened species. Formon is a very remote community and its only school ran out of funding and was closed for several years, leaving the greater part of the children of the community, particularly girls, without the benefit of a formal education. The few families that could afford it, sent their boys to school in another town (the closest being at least 6 hours away). The boy’s mothers went with them and their sisters stayed… read more →
We had two great Osprey photos submitted last month that we just had to share: The first image was captured by Clive Bryson at Salmon Arm Bay in B.C. The second photo was taken by Larry Halverson while fly fishing at Lake Enid in B.C. The osprey is one of the largest birds of prey in North America. It is a fish-eating specialist, with live fish making up 99% of its diet. It will often hover over the water before diving feet-first to grab fish from near the surface. Both of these stunning shots show the power and grace of these aerial predators; thanks for sharing them, Clive and Larry!
This year’s IUCN Red List of Threatened Species update shows more than one-third of the assessed species are threatened with extinction. A recognized environmental leader, the IUCN has assessed the conservation status of 47,677 species around the world. BirdLife International is the Red List Authority for birds. Of the world’s 9,998 bird species, 669 are Vulnerable, 362 are Endangered and 192 are Critically Endangered – 2 more than last year. However, BirdLife also tells us about some conservation success stories: In Brazil, Lear’s Macaw Anodorhynchus leari has been downlisted from Critically Endangered. Named after the English poet, this spectacular blue parrot has increased four-fold in numbers as a result of a joint effort of many national and international non-governmental organisations,… read more →
Polar Bears that live in Canada’s far north, with ranges that overlap Nunavut and Greenland, will be protected by a new agreement. Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice is in Greenland today for the signing ceremony with the governments of Greenland and Nunavut. From the Ottawa Citizen: “Conservation groups have said they expect the agreement to be similar to other bilateral deals, such as one signed last year between Canada and the U.S., as well as a separate agreement between Alaska and Russia. … Previous bilateral agreements have set a framework for collaboration on scientific research and monitoring of population levels, and could also include specific provisions to address or restrict hunting.” Read more news from the CBC and the Globe… read more →
A large number of globally significant IBAs have been identified along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec (IBAs are called ZICOs – Zones Importantes pour la Conservation des Oiseaux – in Quebec). Many are designated for concentrations of shorebirds which migrate south from James and Hudson Bay in the fall, or north in the spring from their wintering grounds often thousands of kilometres to the south. Extensive mudflats, sandbars and wetlands provide critical habitat rich in the invertebrate foods that fuel the next leg of their thousands of kilometres long journeys. The “battures” or tidal flats near the sprawling 80 kilometres square Sept Iles IBA, the Pointe au Pere IBA near Rimouski, or the sand bar at Portneuf, all support… read more →
Climate Day at Parliament Hill in Ottawa was intense, moving and energizing. Mara Kerry, Nature Canada’s Director of Conservation and I were very glad to be there. There was a strong sense of urgency, but also of hope: the event was organized by young people that want to make sure world leaders in Copenhagen set us in a new course: a 350 future. Dr. John Stone, one of the IPCCC’s scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping the world understand Climate Change, had a simple message: “We are running out of time.” A young leader from the Northwest Territories also had a simple message: “We have a right to be cold.” The Executive Director of Oxfam Canada reminded… read more →
A UK Government website has made this map available to highlight the importance of success in Copenhagen in December. But there is no such sense of urgency coming from our government. This is why it is SO important for you to join us tomorrow for CLIMATE DAY, at Parliament Hill in Ottawa from noon to 3:30, or find an event in a city near you!