Protecting Migratory Birds in the North: A Trip to Moose Factory

The James Bay Cree of Moose Factory, Ontario are keenly aware of the ebb and flow of migrating bird populations. Birds, especially geese, are an integral part of their cultural heritage.
Last week, I visited the small community of Moose Factory to speak with people about the birds that share their homelands. I talked with Grade 4 and 4/5 classes in the the Ministik Public School and Grades 7 and 8 classes in the D. Echum Composite School about birds, and also spoke to a number of people in the community about Important Bird Areas, including some common initiatives with the Moose Cree Lands and Resources Department.
While at home the snow was melting, I was lucky to experience a tiny symphony (more like a string trio) of winter birds in Moose Factory. Watch this video to see and hear the birds I spotted. The loud squeak a the beginning is my attempt to attract birds. Hang in there for the grand finale – a bird’s eye view of Moose Factory and the surrounding James Bay wetlands!
Moose Factory is on an island in the Moose River, about ten kilometres from where the river meets the salty waters of James Bay. With several Important Bird Areas nearby, the Cree of Moose Factory have an important role to play in the conservation, protection and management of migratory birds like geese, which they depend on for food, and endangered Red Knot and declining Hudsonian Godwit, which use coastal areas as major migratory stop-overs. The health and integrity of Important Bird Areas are critical for maintaining stable and thriving populations of migratory birds. Engaging Cree communities is an important step toward protecting these birds.
We look forward to continuing our work with Cree communities around James Bay to conserve the special places for birds within their homelands.
Our bird conservation efforts in the James Bay and Hudson Bay region are supported by The Ivey Foundation.