“Boreal Birds Need Half” report released today

As billions of birds are arriving on their Canadian boreal breeding grounds this May and June, international experts are calling for increased protection of Canada’s “bird nursery of the north.” A new report by the Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI), Boreal Birds Need Half, cites science showing that boreal bird species require expansive, landscape-scale habitat conservation in large, interconnected protected areas to maintain healthy populations. Science shows that conserving half (at least 50%) of the boreal forest provides birds the best chance to survive over the long term.  The timing of this Report heralds International Migratory Bird Day (Bird Day) month in North America.  Bird Day is celebrated in hundreds of communities in the Americas by events and activities to engage people in birds, and promoted in Canada by Nature Canada.  Each year Bird Day has a different theme.  “Why Birds Matter” is the theme this year, and the Boreal Birds Need Half Report did not disappoint in this regard, devoting several pages to documenting different ways that boreal birds matter, from pest control to seed dispersal.

This Report builds on an earlier Report: Birds at Risk: The Importance of Canada’s Boreal Wetlands and Waterways, authored by Nature Canada, NRDC and BSI about the importance of Canada’s boreal wetlands for birds.

“This Report is a timely initiative to refocus attention on the globally importance of Canada’s boreal region as a breeding grounds for birds and the need to keep the boreal as an intact ecosystem by protecting half of it and managing the rest sustainably” said Ted Cheskey, Nature Canada’s manager of bird conservation. “I am pleased that the report emphasized the value of the boreal to Canada’s indigenous peoples. Nature Canada is proud to work directly with and learn from Cree First Nations on southern James Bay. We are very happy to see the Report recognize the requirement of free, prior and informed consent from Canada’s First Peoples as a precondition to the Report recommendations. “We are also glad to see that Canada Warbler used as an example in the Report. Nature Canada is working in partnership with Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and BirdLife International on an exciting project to recover populations of the officially Threatened Canada Warbler.”

For more information contact Ted Cheskey at tcheskey@naturecanada.ca or see the report and the resource pages by clicking here.

Ted Cheskey

Manager of Bird Conservation Programs