Immediate action needed to reduce 269 million bird deaths in Canada, nature groups say

OTTAWA (October 1, 2013) ― In the wake of shocking new research published today in collaboration with the federal government, nature conservation groups, including Nature Canada, are calling on both individuals and governments alike to act now to help stop millions of bird deaths each year.

The new research published today finds that a staggering 269 million birds are killed every year as a direct result of human-related activities. The research suggests that about 90% of the 269 million birds killed fall under the protection of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and that the major causes of death include feral and pet cats, agriculture, oil and gas activities, and collisions with buildings.

Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and as a signatory to the Migratory Bird Treaty, the federal government has an obligation to conserve migratory bird populations in Canada.

“We are deeply troubled by the disquieting research published today on the number of birds killed every year in Canada due to human-related activities,” said Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “Fortunately, there are concrete and sensible ways that people and governments can prevent the needless death of birds, especially now during the migratory season.”

Nature Canada is calling on municipal and other governments to adopt a variety of sensible measures to mitigate these needless deaths. These measures include demanding better building standards from developers; muting reflective surfaces by angling glass or adding awnings or overhangs; and putting legislation in place to cut down on the wasteful practice common in some office buildings of leaving lights on overnight.

“It’s important that better building standards, including measures to prevent bird deaths, are adopted and enforced by cities across Canada”, said Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature. “These can be really common sense measures like muting reflections in windows, reducing light pollution or providing visual markers.”

Nature Canada emphasizes that individual Canadians can also help cut down on the number of birds killed every year by adopting some sensible measures. “As simple as it sounds, one of the best things Canadians can do is really just to keep your cat indoors, especially around dawn and dusk,” said Alexander MacDonald, Manager of Protected Areas for Nature Canada. MacDonald also stresses that feral cats are an especially acute threat. “Bob Barker really was right: we should help control the pet population and have our pets spayed or neutered.”

About Nature Canada:

Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. As a co-partner in BirdLife International, Nature Canada is also the largest conservation advocacy group in the country with a special focus of advocating on behalf of birds.
In 2013, Nature Canada was named as one of Canada’s top environmental charities by Charity Intelligence.

Related information:

The State of Canada’s Birds

Ten ways to help migratory birds

In-depth factsheet & Nature Canada’s recommendations to prevent needless bird deaths

Nature Canada has conservation experts on staff who are available to answer media inquiries. For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Paul Jorgenson, Senior Communications Manager, 613-562-3447 ext. 248, pjorgenson@naturecanada.ca

Monica Tanaka, Communications Coordinator, 613-562-3447 ext 241, mtanaka@naturecanada.ca

- 30 -